Logged-out Icon

NASA’s Artemis III mission to deploy moonquake detector on lunar surface

NASA Artemis III Astronauts

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration announced that its upcoming Artemis III mission is set to will deploy moonquake detector on the lunar surface. The Lunar Environment Monitoring Station (LEMS), developed by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, will be one of the three potential payloads for Artemis III.

“LEMS is a compact, autonomous seismometer designed to carry out continuous, long-term monitoring of ground motion from moonquakes in the region around the lunar South Pole,” the U.S. space agency said in a blog last week. “The data LEMS gathers will help scientists study the Moon’s internal structure and could help refine our understanding of how the Moon formed,” it added.

LEMS is designed to withstand the harsh lunar environment, operating autonomously to continuously monitor ground motion from moonquakes. These tremors, caused by temperature fluctuations on the Moon’s surface, have remained largely unexplored in the region around the lunar south pole. This is the region where Artemis III astronauts are slated to touch down.

Moonquakes, initially observed during the Apollo missions of the late 1960s and early 1970s, offer valuable insights into the Moon’s geological activity. However, seismic data collected thus far has been limited to the Earth-facing side of the Moon near the equator. The deployment of LEMS to the lunar south pole will fill crucial gaps in the understanding of lunar seismology and provide essential information for future missions and scientific endeavors.

Meanwhile, in January, NASA announced its plans to postpone the Artemis II and Artemis III missions as the revised schedule will allow teams to work through challenges associated with first-time developments, operations, and integration. The Artemis III mission, which is set to be the first crewed moon landing of the program, is now scheduled for September 2026, as opposed to its previous target of late 2025. This mission is crucial as it will involve the use of SpaceX’s Starship, a key element in NASA’s long-term lunar exploration plans. Artemis II, the mission preceding the lunar landing and involving a crewed flyby of the moon, is also delayed to September 2025. However, the Artemis IV, the first mission to the Gateway lunar space station, remains on track for 2028, NASA said.

To recap, the U.S. space agency launched the Artemis I mission with the gigantic Space Launch System, the most powerful rocket in history, carrying the Orion spacecraft on November 16 2022. NASA concluded its unmanned test mission – Artemis I – after its Orion spacecraft splashed down in the Pacific on December 11, 2022.

Posts you may like

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website