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: New online exploring tools bring NASA's journey to Mars to new generation

Related Stories

A brief history of nukes in space

June 26, 2015

In just a few short weeks, NASA's New Horizons spacecraft will make its historic flyby of Pluto and its moons. Solar panels are unable to operate in the dim nether regions of the outer solar system, and instead, New Horizons ...

Helicopter drones on Mars

March 18, 2015

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory recently announced that it is developing a small drone helicopter to scout the way for future Mars rovers. Why would Mars rovers need such a robotic guide? The answer is that driving on Mars ...

Scientists fly kites on Earth to study Mars

March 16, 2015

An unconventional research method allows for a new look at geologic features on Earth, revealing that some of the things we see on Mars and other planets may not be what they seem.

Recommended for you

Dawn spacecraft sends sharper scenes from Ceres

August 25, 2015

The closest-yet views of Ceres, delivered by NASA's Dawn spacecraft, show the small world's features in unprecedented detail, including Ceres' tall, conical mountain; crater formation features and narrow, braided fractures.

Ceres image: The lonely mountain

August 25, 2015

NASA's Dawn spacecraft spotted this tall, conical mountain on Ceres from a distance of 915 miles (1,470 kilometers).

0 comments

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.