Intuitive Machines will take a rover to Reiner Gama, a whirlpool located in the western part of the Moon .
The NASA has commissioned Intuitive Machines a contract to land a scientific and technological demonstration mission to the moon swirl Reiner Gama in 2024.
One of the most distinctive and enigmatic natural features on the Moon , Reiner Gamma, is located on the western edge of the satellite, as seen from Earth. Scientists continue to learn what lunar eddies are , how they form, and their relationship to the magnetic field, NASA reports .
Intuitive Machines will receive $ 77.5 million for the contract and is responsible for end-to-end delivery services, including payload integration, delivery from Earth to the surface of the Moon, and payload operations. .
The four investigations that Intuitive Machines will deliver to Reiner Gamma are expected to have a mass of approximately 92 kilos.
The first investigation is Lunar Vertex , a combination of payloads from the stationary lander and a rover that will make detailed measurements of the magnetic field, plasma environment, and regolith properties. Data from the lander and the rover will augment the observations collected in orbit. Combined, the observations will help show how these mysterious lunar eddies form and evolve , and how they connect to local magnetic fields in the same regions.
The second investigation of the mission is called CADRE (Cooperative Autonomous Distributed Robotic Exploration), which consists of mobile robots programmed to work as an autonomous team to explore the lunar surface, collect data and map different areas of the Moon in 3D.
Third is the MoonLIGHT laser retroreflector , which reflects laser beams sent from Earth directly from the Moon to receivers on the planet. This allows a very precise measurement of the distances between the reflector and the ground station. This technique can be used to investigate relativity, the gravitational dynamics of the Earth- Moon system, and the deep lunar interior.
Finally, the mission includes the LUSEM (Lunar Space Environment Monitor) investigation , which uses a pair of apertures to detect high-energy particles on the lunar surface.
LUSEM will monitor variations in the near-surface space environment when the Moon is in and out of Earth’s magnetic tail, the extreme end of the magnetic fields surrounding our planet, which can serve as a buffer for incoming radiation.