As lunar missions and explorations are gaining grounds, NASA chose 12 payloads from science and technology section to make its trip to the moon by the end of 2019, which is to be mainly determined by the commercial Landers that are going to be available. The selection of this payload goes a long way to show that the agency is ready to take an early step for Moon and Mars exploration.
Jim Bridenstine, the administrator of NASA, believes that the Moon has a lot of potential in providing a lot of necessary resources, mainly in the form of oxygen and water and since it is so close to Earth, it becomes all the more important for exploration. The Science Mission Directorate of NASA was the first to initiate the selection process.
The main purpose of doing so was to achieve some science and technology-based objectives which could only be achieved by sending these demo payloads and lay down the path for the return to the Moon for humans. Lunar Surface Instruments and the scientific and technological payloads will use the commercial landing services and more payloads are being planned for the future that will be released every year.
The payloads are slated to carry scientific instruments like a Linear Energy Transfer and a Near-Infrared Volatile Spectrometer System, a Neutron Spectrometer, Ion-Trap Mass Spectrometer, magnetometer etcetera. The technological payload will mainly consist of a Solar Cell Demonstration Platform and a Lunar Node 1 Navigation Demonstrator.
A number of facilities under NASA are responsible for the payloads like the Ames Research Center, Glenn Research center, Goddard Space Flight Center etcetera while nine companies selected by the concerned authorities are taking care of the development of appropriate Landers. This is being a considerable step in facilitating the return of humans to the Moon by using commercial services for smaller payloads and lunar Landers for the bigger ones.