Having the ability to visit multiple sites with a reusable lander, such as this one presented by Lockheed Martin, supports many worldwide, commercial and scientific collaborations, in addition to NASA's sustainable exploration of the Moon. It is created to carry out missions that would see it land on the surface of the Moon for up to 14 days before returning to the Gateway ready to be used again.
The lander would work alongside NASA's planned Deep Space Gateway space station, allowing astronauts to visit the moon quickly and for long periods. Leveraging tech from the aerospace giant's Orion spacecraft for deep-space missions, the 14-meter, single-stage vessel can camp for up to 14 days on the moon.
The United States space agency, NASA, signed an agreement on October 3 with the Israel Space Agency to cooperatively utilize the Israeli nonprofit SpaceIL's commercial lunar mission, expected to land on the moon in 2019.
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NASA wanted innovative ideas for a return trip to the Moon and this is Lockheed's best attempt so far.
In addition, NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter will attempt to take scientific measurements of the SpaceIL lander as it lands on the moon.
Lockheed presented the lunar lander concept to the International Astronomical Congress (IAC) in Germany yesterday. According to a lunar mineralogical map released by NASA past year, water is present nearly everywhere on the moon's surface, albeit in minute amounts.
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Lockheed's lunar lander will serve as a precursor to an even more ambitious spacecraft: a Mars lander. First of all, Gateway needs to be deployed, and for this happen NASA needs to launch the Space Launch System (SLS), the most powerful rocket humans have ever built.
Dr. Ido Anteby, CEO of SpaceIL (left), Avi Blasberger, Director of the Israel Space Agency (ISA - second from left), NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine (second from right), and NASA Associate Administrator for the Science Mission Directorate Thomas Zurbuchen (right), following the signing of the agreement.
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