NASA Spacecraft to Carry Russian Science Instruments

Oct 03, 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: The wake-up call that sent hearts racing

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

The wake-up call that sent hearts racing

1 hour ago

"But as the minutes ticked by, the relaxed attitude of many of us began to dissolve into apprehension. Our levels of adrenaline and worry began to rise."

US-India to collaborate on Mars exploration

10 hours ago

The United States and India, fresh from sending their own respective spacecraft into Mars' orbit earlier this month, on Tuesday agreed to cooperate on future exploration of the Red Planet.

Swift mission observes mega flares from a mini star

11 hours ago

On April 23, NASA's Swift satellite detected the strongest, hottest, and longest-lasting sequence of stellar flares ever seen from a nearby red dwarf star. The initial blast from this record-setting series ...

Sandblasting winds shift Mars' landscape

15 hours ago

High winds are a near-daily force on the surface of Mars, carving out a landscape of shifting dunes and posing a challenge to exploration, scientists said Tuesday.

PanSTARRS K1, the comet that keeps going

18 hours ago

Thank you K1 PanSTARRS for hanging in there! Some comets crumble and fade away. Others linger a few months and move on. But after looping across the night sky for more than a year, this one is nowhere near ...

User comments : 0