NASA and the private company Intuitive Machines have announced that they have selected a landing site for the Nova-C lander, which will go into space in late 2022.
It will deliver a drilling rig and an experimental communications system from Nokia to the area near Shackleton Crater in the lunar south polar region.
Intuitive Machines was one of three companies to win a competition from NASA and are included in the 2019 CLPS (Commercial Lunar Payload Services) program
Under the CLPS, private space companies can participate in the exploration and development of the Moon.
The company created the Nova-C apparatus for flights to the natural satellite of the Earth and delivery there the necessary equipment weighing 100 kilograms.
Its total weight is 1.5 tons, and with the help of its engine, the Nova-C is able to fly to another place if necessary.
Intuitive Machines is currently planning three flights to the moon.
As part of the second, designated IM-2, the company plans to deliver a Micro-Nova jumping probe and a drill to the moon's south pole.
With their help, water ice reserves will be estimated within the framework of the PRIME-1 (Polar Resources Ice-Mining Experiment-1) experiment
The drilling rig will extract ice samples from a depth of one meter, and the mass spectrometer will analyze the composition of volatiles in it.
Such work is needed for future manned missions to the Moon, as ice will become a raw material for the production of rocket fuel and air.
While PRIME-1 explores the ice, Nokia intends to test a 4G / LTE network on the Moon.
The small rover developed by Lunar Outpost will travel more than 1.6 kilometers from the Nova-C module and try to communicate with the base station, while the Nova-C will transmit data to Earth.
Now NASA and Intuitive Machines announced that they had selected a landing site for the lunar rig: on the ridge near Shackleton Crater.
This area is illuminated by the Sun well enough for the device to receive the required amount of energy for 10 days of operation, and also provides a line of sight to the Earth for constant communication.
The launch of Nova-C into space is scheduled for late 2022.
- NASA: https://www.nasa.gov/feature/nasa-intuitive-machines-announce-landing-site-location-for-lunar-drill/