Saturday, October 1, 2022

NASA Moon Ice Cube – Moon Observation Cube Artemis ready to launch

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Illustration of the Moon’s snowflake in orbit that probes the Moon’s ice. credit: Morehead State University

moon snow[{” attribute=””>NASA’s water-scouting CubeSat, is now poised to hitch a ride to lunar orbit. Although it is not much bigger than a shoe box, Lunar IceCube’s data will have an outsized impact on lunar science.

The satellite is integrated into the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and ready to journey to the Moon as part of the uncrewed Artemis I mission, launching this year.

Lunar IceCube will orbit the Moon and use a spectrometer to investigate lunar ice. Earlier missions already revealed water ice on the Moon, but Lunar IceCube will further NASA’s knowledge about lunar ice dynamics.

Scientists are especially interested in the absorption and release of water from the regolith — the Moon’s rocky and dusty surface. With Lunar IceCube investigating this process, NASA can map these changes as they occur on the Moon.

NASA’s Lunar IceCube mission will travel to the Moon as a secondary payload on the Artemis I mission. credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

Lunar IceCube will also probe the exosphere – a very thin volume that resembles the atmosphere around the Moon. By understanding the dynamics of water and other materials on the Moon, researchers will be able to predict seasonal changes in lunar ice that could affect their future use as a resource.

All this will come from an efficient and cost-effective CubeSat that weighs just 14 kg. Lunar IceCube is one of several CubeSats to visit the Moon aboard Artemis I. This small satellite, along with future Artemis missions, will enhance our knowledge of life and work on the Moon and ultimately help prepare human explorers.[{” attribute=””>Mars.

Lunar IceCube is funded by NASA’s Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships program, or NextSTEP, in support of NASA’s Advanced Exploration Systems Division within the Exploration Systems Development Mission Directorate. The Lunar IceCube mission is led by Morehead State University in Morehead, Kentucky; NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland; NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California; NASA’s Katherine Johnson Independent Verification and Validation Facility in Fairmont, West Virginia; and Busek Space Propulsion and Systems in Natick, Massachusetts.

Nation World News Desk
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