Along with announcement of the firms that will carry its essential instruments to lunar surface NASA has also indicated details of locations where its landers will get down on the moon. It announced on 31st May that three firms Intuitive Machines, Orbit Beyond and Astrobotic would be the first ones to hold its instruments for technological shows to the moon. Early payloads represent initial ambitious segment of its Artemis program that includes plan to put humans on South Pole region of the moon in 2024. But surprisingly none of these 3moon landers are likely to set foot in that region
Head of NASA’s Thomas Zurbuchen also affirmed that as and how selections are made they will assign the locations for landers but as of now only three have been made. Every company which has been part of this lunar proposal has been assigned a location and soon work will begin on looking at options to ensure that all workings of the project are maximized to reach the goal of 2024. As of now all three firms are targeting locations based on northern region of the moon near side and the focus is on smooth lava flow regions that were part of its craters several years ago.
This is because it is easy for them to land spacecraft on smooth land instead of trying to balance them on rocky surfaces. Astrobotic has chosen the Lacus Mortis region due to scientific curiosity about the region but mission director Sharad Bhaskaran stated that in future they will send their spacecraft to other locations on the surface of the moon like pits, craters, polar region and equatorial regions with few changes to their spacecraft. Orbit Beyond’s scientific officer had stated that they are targeting 2 km landing region close to Mare Imbrium which are vast plains of lave near Sea of Rains but later the company announced via Twitter that their lander will attempt to touchdown close to Annegrit crater close to a mountainous region named as Mons La Hire and ridge of Dorsum Zirkel.
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