NASA has chosen Arizona State University to design, build and operate the Lunar Polar Hydrogen Mapper, or “LunaH-Map” for short, to orbit and create a map of water-ice on the Moon. This will be the first planetary science spacecraft mission led by ASU and NASA’s third time in the past year selecting the university to play a role in a major space project.
The spacecraft will help fulfill part of the space agency’s mission to identify the water content at the lunar South Pole in preparation for exploring and better understanding the Moon’s geologic history.
Being able to search for useful assets such as hydrogen potentially could enable astronauts to manufacture fuel and other provisions needed to sustain a crew for a journey to Mars. In turn, this could reduce the fuel and weight those team members would need to travel from Earth.