NASA is set to explore the far side of the moon for the FIRST time

NASA is set to venture to the far side of the moon for the first time in preparation of sending the first woman and next man to the lunar surface in 2024.

The American space agency announced Thursday it selected three new scientific investigation payloads that will land in the region to learn more about the potential astronaut destination.

The far side, or dark side, of the moon has only been explored by China‘s Chang’e 4-mission in 2019 and NASA wants to learn more before putting human boots in the region.

The payloads will study lunar swirls, seismic activity and the heat flow and electrical conductivity of the interior in Schrödinger basin.

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NASA is set to venture to the far side of the moon for the first time in preparation of sending the first woman and next man to the lunar surface in 2024

The far side of the moon remained untouched until two years ago, but China only landed a vehicle in the region – not humans.

NASA, if the missions is successful, will be the first space agency to put humans down on the far side of the moon.

It plans to send at least two deliveries to the moon ahead of the manned Artemis mission, with the first starting this year – although it is no clear when the new experiments will be sent. 

One of the selections, Lunar Vertex, is a lander and rover combination that is set to touchdown in Reiner Gamma – one of the most distinctive and enigmatic natural features on the moon, known as a lunar swirl.

The far side, or dark side, of the moon has only been explored by China's Chang'e 4-mission in 2019 and NASA wants to learn more before putting human boots in the region (artist impression)

The far side, or dark side, of the moon has only been explored by China’s Chang’e 4-mission in 2019 and NASA wants to learn more before putting human boots in the region (artist impression)

Scientists do not fully understand what lunar swirls are or how they form, but they know they are closely related to anomalies associated with the moon’s magnetic field.

The Lunar Vertex rover will make detailed surface measurements of the magnetic field using an onboard magnetometer.

Lunar surface magnetic field data the rover collects will enhance data the spacecraft collects in orbit around the moon and help scientists better understand how these mysterious lunar swirls form and evolve, as well as provide further insight into the moon’s interior and core.

Schrödinger basin is another planned destination, which is an impact crater 198 miles in diameter.

The Farside Seismic Suite be delivered there, which will include two seismometers to capture NASA’s first seismic data from the far side of the moon.

The American space agency announced Thursday it selected three new scientific investigation payloads that will land in the region to learn more about the potential astronaut destination

The American space agency announced Thursday it selected three new scientific investigation payloads that will land in the region to learn more about the potential astronaut destination

The payloads will study lunar swirls, seismic activity and the heat flow and electrical conductivity of the interior in Schrödinger basin

The payloads will study lunar swirls, seismic activity and the heat flow and electrical conductivity of the interior in Schrödinger basin 

This data could be vital to know how often this regions is hit by small meteorites and better understand tectonic activity to be better prepare for humans on the moon.

The Lunar Interior Temperature and Materials Suite (LITMS), the other payload headed to Schrödinger basin, is a suite of two instruments: the Lunar Instrumentation for Thermal Exploration with Rapidity pneumatic drill and the Lunar Magnetotelluric Sounder. 

This payload suite will investigate the heat flow and electrical conductivity of the lunar interior in Schrödinger basin, giving an in-depth look at the moon’s internal mechanical and heat flow. 

LITMS data also will complement seismic data acquired by the FSS to provide a more complete picture of the near- and deep-subsurface of the far side of the Moon.

‘These investigations demonstrate the power of CLPS to deliver big science in small packages, providing access to the lunar surface to address high priority science goals for the Moon,’ said Lori Glaze, director of NASA’s Planetary Science Division. 

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