NASA has revealed an increased focus on commercial partnerships, calling this a key aspect of its goal of returning humans to the moon. According to the space agency, it will be expanding its commercial partnerships as part of a robotic lunar campaign comprising multiple missions. These missions will, among other things, deliver NASA tech and tools to the moon, where they’ll help pave the way for humans later on.
It’s no secret that NASA is set to focus on returning to the moon, but details are still being ironed out. The agency has until recently been working on the Resource Prospector mission, but suddenly scrapped it in late April for reasons that weren’t clear. The agency soon clarified that while the full Resource Prospector wouldn’t be sent to the moon, its instruments would be.
In an update today, NASA said that instruments from the Resource Prospector mission are among the instrumentation it plans to ship to the lunar surface. Expanding on that is NASA’s Dennis Andrucyk, who said:
We conducted a thorough science and engineering assessment of Resource Prospector and determined all four instruments are at a high technology readiness level, are appropriate for science on the Moon, and will make flights on future Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) missions. These tools will provide important scientific data on various landing sites, and will help NASA better understand the lunar environment.
All of this falls under Space Policy Directive 1, and that includes the complete Exploration Campaign under which the partnerships are formed. NASA says it is buying small lunar payload delivery services, as well as getting ready to create lunar landers, expand lunar research, and more. All of this will lead up to the return of astronauts to the moon’s surface.