NASA will reveal its selection of the first commercial companies to deliver science experiments to the moon as part of the agency's Artemis lunar landing program, and you can watch it live online.
The space agency will announce its science selection at 1 p.m. EDT (1700 GMT) during a live broadcast of its NASA Science Live program, a monthly science show launched in February. The reveal is the latest in a series of contract announcements by NASA as the agency aims to return astronauts to the moon by 2024.
"Paving the way to return astronauts to the surface of the moon, and ultimately Mars, NASA will announce the selection of the first commercial moon landing service providers that will deliver science and technology payloads as part of the agency’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS)," NASA officials wrote in a statement. "These missions will acquire new science measurements and enable important technology demonstrations, whose data will inform the development of future landers and other exploration systems needed for astronauts to return to the moon by 2024."
NASA's CLPS program is the vanguard of its Artemis moon program. It will send robotic landers on scouting missions to the lunar surface.
Last November, NASA chief Jim Bridenstine announced that the agency had picked nine different companies to participate in the CLPS program: Astrobotic Technology Inc., Deep Space Systems, Draper, Firefly Aerospace Inc., Intuitive Machines LLC, Lockheed Martin Space, Masten Space Systems, Inc., Moon Express and Orbit Beyond.
It's one or more of those companies we expect NASA to select during today's announcement. NASA has set aside $2.6 billion to spend over 10 years for its CLPS program, with each of the nine companies guaranteed at least $25,000 for its participation, though individual contracts for actual science or technology payloads and mission will vary depending on the service.
In February, NASA announced its shortlist for the first science experiments it wants to send to the moon under the CLPS program. Those 12 payloads included 10 science experiments and two technology demonstrations to study the amount of hydrogen on the moon; measure radiation levels; collect vital entry, descent and landing data; and test advanced new solar arrays, among other things. The full list of commercial science payloads is available here.
Visit Space.com today for complete coverage of the CLPS announcement for the first company to help NASA land a science payload on the moon.
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