SpaceX was the company chosen to launch a mission to the Moon scheduled for the end of 2022, sponsored by NASA. The announcement was made on Wednesday (26), by the Masten Space System (MSS), the company responsible for developing the lunar probe project.
Entitled Masten Mission One (MM1), the mission will take the XL-1 module to the south pole of the natural satellite, which will carry a series of scientific instruments and other commercial cargo. The equipment will be used to perform tasks such as mapping the moon’s composition and temperature, as well as recording images for geological surveys and collecting material samples.
In the probe, which will be taken there by Elon Musk’s company, a small space vehicle will also be present, whose function is to look for signs of water in the lunar soil, according to Masten.
MM1 is part of the Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) initiative. Through this program, the American space agency establishes partnerships with companies from different sectors, to supply scientific equipment and technology to its exploration missions, enabling cost reduction. Two other missions, included in the project, will be launched in 2021, one of them also taking off with SpaceX.
Mission is part of the Artemis Program
The launch of Masten’s XL-1 lunar probe is directly linked to NASA’s Artemis Program, which intends to take the man back to the Moon in 2024. The vehicle will land in the same region where the manned trip will take place, making a kind of land preparation.
The idea is to provide the space agency with all the information about this area, facilitating the arrival of the next missions, in addition to preparing materials for the future work of the astronauts.
For now, there is no scheduled date for the launch of MM1, but the forecast is that the takeoff will happen in the second half of 2022.