NASA Selects Intuitive Machines for New Lunar Science Delivery
We’ve awarded Intuitive Machines of Houston a contract to deliver research, including science investigations and a technology demonstration, to the Moon in 2024. With more science and technology on the lunar surface, we can help prepare for sustainable astronaut missions through the Artemis program.
The investigations aboard Intuitive Machines’ Nova-C lander are destined for Reiner Gamma, one of the most distinctive natural features on the Moon. Known as a lunar swirl, Reiner Gamma is on the western edge of the Moon, as seen from Earth, and is one of the most visible lunar swirls. Scientists continue to learn what lunar swirls are, how they form, and their relationship to the Moon’s magnetic field.
The commercial delivery is part of our Commercial Lunar Payload Services initiative and the Artemis program.
Look Up – Did you catch this week’s partial lunar eclipse? On Nov. 19, 2021 (late evening of the 18th in some time zones), the Moon passed into the shadow of the Earth. It was the longest partial lunar eclipse in a millennium!
Countdown to Launch – Our DART mission is less than a week from liftoff! We’ll have live launch coverage of our first planetary defense test mission starting at 12:30 a.m. EST on Nov. 24 (9:30 p.m. PST Nov. 23), with prelaunch events all week long.
Space Station Departure – A Northrop Grumman Cygnus cargo spacecraft named after our first Asian American astronaut, Ellison Onizuka, departs the International Space Station on Sat., Nov 20. Watch live starting at 10:45 a.m. EST on NASA TV.
Eyes on the Earth – Decreasing greenhouse gas emissions is necessary to reduce impacts of human-caused climate change. New research shows that improved air quality caused by reducing emissions could also dramatically improve human health.
Meet Your Crew – NASA astronaut Jessica Watkins has been assigned to fly on our SpaceX Crew-4 mission, set to launch April 2022. She’ll join NASA astronauts Kjell Lindgren and Robert Hines, as well as ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti.
Humans in Space – Together with the U.S. Space Command, we’re continuing to monitor the debris cloud created by a recent Russian anti-satellite test. The International Space Station and crew members are safe and have resumed normal operations.
NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1 astronauts, from left to right, Shannon Walker, Victor Glover, and Mike Hopkins, along with Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Soichi Noguchi visited the National Museum of African American History and Culture Tuesday, Nov. 16, in Washington.Photo Credit: NASA/Aubrey Gemignani