NASA astronomers don’t seem to rest as they have great plans for the near future of space exploration. While nobody is so naive to think that humans will land to Mars and be able to live there for a long time starting anytime soon, it’s clear that the Moon remains a more reliable option. NASA plans to both send humans to our natural satellite and build a radio telescope there pretty soon, but also several extra actions are required.
NASA will automatically also have to deliver cargo to the Moon, and it cannot do it alone. The space agency has a list of Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) vendors for transporting stuff on its behalf. NASA had made its decision.
Mojave’s Masten Space Systems is the answer
NASA has chosen Mojave’s Masten Space Systems for the job, and the vendor will be carrying eight payloads to the Moon’s South Pole in 2022, including non-science and tech instruments.
The new Masten contract is part of NASA’s upcoming Artemis program (scheduled between 2020 and 2024), which plans to return humans on the surface of the Moon. The goal is to set up scientific exploration there. If all goes according to the plan, the next step is to take humans to Mars.
$75.9 million contract
Masten’s contract is a $75.9 million award, and it specifies end-to-end delivery of the payloads. This includes the integration with the company’s XL-1 lander. The lander will carry tools for measuring and mapping the surface temperature of the Moon, the radiation, and also the presence of hydrogen and other elements that could indicate the presence of water.
Hopefully, after a long half a century break, humans will return to the Moon and explore it as much as possible. Certainly, there are mysteries left uncovered, and exploring the unknown is a ‘must’ that can help humanity evolve.