Before Artemis astronauts land on the Moon, robots will scout the surface for resources and collect information about the lunar South Pole. Some landers and rovers will come equipped with handy tools, including drills and chemical analyzers, to examine what lies below the lunar surface.
Lunar Ice Mining Experiment
80 pounds (36 kilograms)
3.2 feet (1 meter)
PRIME-1 will help scientists search for water at the lunar South Pole, and will be the first in-situ resource utilization demonstration on the Moon.
PRIME-1, which will be mounted to a lunar lander, is made up of two components – The Regolith and Ice Drill for Exploring New Terrain (TRIDENT) and the Mass Spectrometer for Observing Lunar Operations (MSolo). NASA selected Intuitive Machines of Houston to fly PRIME-1 to the Moon in December 2022 under the agency’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services initiative.
AS13-60-8675 (April 1970) — This bright-rayed crater on the lunar farside was photographed from the Apollo 13 spacecraft during its pass around the moon. This area is northeast of Mare Marginus. The bright-rayed crater is located at about 105 degrees east longitude and 45 degrees north latitude. The crater Joliot-Curie is located between Mare Marginus and the rayed crater. This view is looking generally toward the northeast.
NASA Awards Contract to Deliver Science, Tech to Moon Ahead of Human Missions
Masten’s XL-1 lunar lander will deliver science and technology payloads to the Moon’s South Pole in 2022.
NASA Asks Commercial Partners to Land Water-Measuring Drill on Moon
The approximately 88-pound payload will be launched to the Moon to locate ice close to the lunar surface.
PRIME-1 will drill into the Moon’s surface where it lands, harvest and bring ice to the Moon’s surface, and use a mass spectrometer to measure how much is lost to sublimation as it turns from solid into vapor in a vacuum.