NASA is traveling to the moon tomorrow, and it’s bringing a bunch of weird stuff with it
January 7, 2024

NASA is traveling to the moon tomorrow, and it’s bringing a bunch of weird stuff with it

In a very important mission that will take off on January 8, 2024, NASAin collaboration with United Launch Alliance, is preparing for a lunar expedition that combines cutting-edge scientific tools, symbolic gestures and even some unexpected cargo.

Unmanned Vulcan Centaur, weighing almost 1,283 kilograms, will carry the Peregrine lander, designed by a private space company Astrobotic, on a trip that amounts to just under 400,000 kilometers. Destination: Gruithuisen Domes within the Sinus Viscositatis region on the Moon.

If successful, this mission will be the first landing by the United States of America on the surface of the moon since the historic Apollo 17 mission in 1972.

The Peregrine lander will carry over 20 different payloads from six different countries, serving both research and symbolic purposes in anticipation of the planned landing of Artemis program astronauts later this decade.

What does NASA carry with it?

As Gizmodo reports, NASA’s mission aims to use advanced tools such as the Near-Infrared Volatile Spectrometer System (NIRVSS) and the Neutron Spectrometer System (NSS), designed to identify substances such as water on the lunar surface. The Laser Retro-Reflector Array (LRA) will provide precise measurements of the distance between the Moon and Earth, while the Linear Energy Transfer Spectrometer (LETS) and the German M-42 radiation detector will analyze radiation on the Moon’s surface and potential hazards during the mission.

Joining this unconventional cargo, the Colmena robot from Mexico will form a solar panel, and Carnegie Mellon University’s Iris Lunar rover, if successful, will become the first American robot on the moon. Additionally, the university will send MoonArk a lightweight time capsule containing songs, music, nano-objects, Earth samples and images.

The flight is planned for Monday January 8 at 7:30 a.m. our timeand you can watch the live broadcast on this YouTube link

In a nod to the digital age and the growing influence of cryptocurrencies, part of Vulkan’s payload will include and one cryptocurrency – Bitcoin. Thanks to BitMex and Bitcoin Magazine, a physical Bitcoin with a private encryption key etched into it will be left on the surface of the moon for “future explorers”.

However, perhaps the most unexpected burden on this mission comes from the past. Two memorial space burial companies, Celestis and Elysium Space, will contribute to Vulcan’s burden a unique collection: the DNA of legendary science fiction author Arthur C. Clarke, as well as traces of the cremated remains, ashes of several original Star Trek cast members, including series creator, Gene Roddenberry.

As humanity once again sets its sights on the moon, this lunar expedition represents not only scientific progress, but also a unique combination of technology, symbolism and literal remnants of the past – a testament to our fascination with both the cosmos and our own history.