Another historical moment for the space agency, as it plans to conduct the first-ever visit to the dark side of the Moon.
The new plans involve three commercial delivery missions to the Moon’s surface, which will take place across multiple trips per year in order to aid in scientific research into Earth’s nearest neighbor. Moreover, two of the three payload suites will be aimed for the far side of the natural satellite, heading to the Schrödinger basin, which NASA explains is a large impact crater near the lunar South Pole.
One will carry two seismometers as part of the preparation for the Artemis program to put astronauts back on the Moon and establish a long-term base there, while the other payload suite will deliver the Lunar Instrumentation for Thermal Exploration with Rapidity pneumatic drill as well as the Lunar Magnetotelluric Sounder, used to investigate heat flows and electrical conductivity of the basin itself.
Lori Glaze, the director of NASA’s Planetary Science Division, said in a statement: “These investigations demonstrate the power of CLPS to deliver big science in small packages, providing access to the lunar surface to address high priority science goals for the Moon. When scientists analyze these new data alongside lunar samples returned from Apollo and data from our many orbital missions, they will advance our knowledge of the lunar surface and interior, and increase our understanding of crucial phenomenon such as space weathering to inform future crewed missions to the Moon and beyond.”