The US hopes to land on the moon for the first time since 1972. The goal: to make measurements for future manned missions.
A Vulcan-Centaur rocket was launched from Cape Canaveral in Florida at eight o'clock this morning (Dutch time) with instruments to measure the lunar landing. If all goes well, the lander will reach the moon in 46 days, on February 23.
It was the first U.S. moon landing since 1972, the last time humans landed on the moon. NASA writes: In a press release.
The lunar lander named Peregrine (meaning Peregrine Falcon) was unmanned. The purpose of the mission is to take measurements of the lunar soil and exosphere – a rare area around the planet. Peregrine has fifteen instruments for this purpose, five of which are from NASA. The space agency hopes to use the measurements in preparation for future lunar missions, where it wants to send people back to the moon.
Research includes measuring radiation, detecting hydrogen near the landing site, and determining thermal properties of lunar rock, such as thermal conductivity.
For this purpose, Peregrine has, among others, a laser reflector system, in which the laser light is reflected by mirrors, thereby measuring distances and locations and different types of spectrometers that measure the absorption or transmission of light of different wavelengths to determine the composition of materials.
The rocket launch was not carried out by NASA, but by a commercial party: United Publishing Alliance. The lunar lander also comes from a commercial party, viz Astropodic. The mission is part of the CLPS (Commercial Lunar Payload Services) program. NASA pays commercial parties to bring scientific equipment to the moon.
Peregrine carries twenty cargoes and sixteen merchant parties from seven different countries. Astrobotic writes According to its website, these come from aerospace companies, universities, companies and private clients, including Mexico, Germany, the United Kingdom, Hungary and the Seychelles.
Apart from the scientific instruments, a 'DHL Moonbox' is on board, containing memorabilia and messages from over one lakh people from around the world.
Peregrine was the first lander sent to the Moon under the CLPS programme. “This is a giant step forward for mankind,” says NASA employee Bill Nelson somewhat dramatically Newspaper From the space agency, “Because we're returning to the moon for the first time in half a century.”
Nelson says that not only science, but also the growing commercial space economy benefits from these types of missions. “That shows the power of American technology and innovation.”
In other countries
The latter is perhaps the most important motivation for Americans. The last successful lunar landers were from India and China. In addition, Russia launched a rocket with a lunar lander in August 2023, and Japan did so in September. Russian lunar lander crashes on landing, Japanese hope This month should come to the moon.
Opening Field: Astrobotics
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