Lunar Trailblazer, NASA’s mission to understand lunar water and the Moon’s water cycle led by Caltech in Pasadena, California, is one step closer to launching next year. Earlier this month, the agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California delivered a key science instrument to Lockheed Martin Space in Colorado, and the teams integrated it with the small satellite, or SmallSat.
The instrument, called the High-resolution Volatiles and Minerals Moon Mapper (HVM3), is one of two on Lunar Trailblazer. HVM3 will detect and map water on the Moon’s surface to determine its abundance, location, form, and how it changes over time. This information will provide data on the lunar water cycle and help inform future human missions as to where supplies of water may be found and extracted as a resource.
“The calibration and integration of HVM3 is a major milestone, because after three years of hard work the team delivered our key science instrument. This is a very exciting time,” said Walton Williamson, systems engineer at JPL and the HVM3 instrument manager.
The other instrument, the Lunar Thermal Mapper infrared multispectral imager, is being developed by the University of Oxford in the U.K. and is scheduled for delivery and integration in early 2023.