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Ice drill being sent to the Moon late next year

4 Nov 2021, 00:20 UTC
Ice drill being sent to the Moon late next year
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A rendering of Intuitive Machines’ Nova-C lander with the PRIME-1 ice drill attached to the spacecraft. Credit: Intuitive Machines
As work continues on the human-side of hardware development for NASA’s Artemis program, the agency is hard at work planning robotic precursor missions to the areas astronauts are expected to explore in just a few short years.
On Nov. 3, 2021, NASA announced a landing site location for an ice-mining experiment set to be delivered to the Moon by Houston-based Intuitive Machines’ Nova-C lander. The location chosen is a ridge not far from Shackleton crater at the Moon’s south pole, NASA said.
It is thought this location, which engineers and scientists have been analyzing for months via data from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, could have ice below the surface. The area also receives sufficient light for a roughly 10-day mission, the agency said, while also providing a clear line of sight to Earth for communications.
Intuitive Machines’ Nova-C lander is part of NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services program, which intends to procure commercially-developed landers to send small cargo and experiments to the Moon.
The landing site for the Intuitive Machines Nova-C lander with NASA’s PRIME-1 ice drill is set to be ...

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