NASA Spacecraft to Carry Russian Science Instruments

October 3, 2007

NASA and the Russian Federal Space Agency Roscosmos have agreed to fly two Russian scientific instruments on NASA spacecraft that will conduct unprecedented robotic missions to the moon and Mars.

NASA Administrator Michael Griffin and Roscosmos head Anatoly Perminov signed agreements in Moscow on Oct. 3 to add the instruments to two future missions: the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, scheduled to launch in October 2008, and the Mars Science Laboratory, an advanced robotic rover scheduled to launch in 2009.

Russia's Lunar Exploration Neutron Detector on the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter will search for evidence of water ice and help understand astronauts' exposure to radiation during future trips to the moon. The instrument will map concentrations of hydrogen that may be found on and just beneath the lunar surface.

Roscosmos’ Dynamic Albedo of Neutrons instrument on the Mars Science Laboratory will measure hydrogen to analyze neutrons interacting with the Martian surface. The principal investigator for both instruments is Igor Mitrofanov of the Institute for Space Research of the Russian Academy of Science.

"Russia's contribution to the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter and Mars Science Laboratory missions continues a rich and long-standing tradition of cooperation between NASA and Russia for scientific research in space," Griffin said. "The Institute for Space Research has a track record of delivering excellent instrumentation, and we are delighted to have international participation on these missions to explore the moon and send a robotic laboratory to Mars."

The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter will circle the moon for at least a year, obtaining measurements necessary to identify future robotic and human landing sites. It also will look for potential lunar resources and document aspects of the lunar radiation environment.

The Mars Science Laboratory rover is a mobile research platform that will explore a local region of the Martian surface as a potential habitat for past or present life. The rover will carry a suite of highly capable analytic and remote sensing instruments to investigate planetary processes that influence habitability, including the role of water.

Source: NASA

Explore further: NASA confirms evidence that liquid water flows on today's Mars (Update)

Related Stories

NASA releases first interactive mosaic of lunar north pole

March 18, 2014

Scientists, using cameras aboard NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), have created the largest high resolution mosaic of our moon's north polar region. The six-and-a-half feet (two-meters)-per-pixel images cover an ...

New lunar images and data available to the public

March 15, 2010

The public can follow along with NASA on its journey of lunar discovery. On March 15, the publicly accessible Planetary Data System will release data sets from the seven instruments on board NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter.

Recommended for you

A blue, neptune-size exoplanet around a red dwarf star

November 25, 2015

A team of astronomers have used the LCOGT network to detect light scattered by tiny particles (called Rayleigh scattering), through the atmosphere of a Neptune-size transiting exoplanet. This suggests a blue sky on this world ...

The hottest white dwarf in the Galaxy

November 25, 2015

Astronomers at the Universities of Tübingen and Potsdam have identified the hottest white dwarf ever discovered in our Galaxy. With a temperature of 250,000 degrees Celsius, this dying star at the outskirts of the Milky ...

Aging star's weight loss secret revealed

November 25, 2015

A team of astronomers using ESO's Very Large Telescope has captured the most detailed images ever of the hypergiant star VY Canis Majoris. These observations show how the unexpectedly large size of the particles of dust surrounding ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.