NASA Payloads for (Task Order) TO2-AB – Astrobotic Technology Peregrine Lander

Surface Exosphere Alterations by Landers (SEAL)

A cylinder, resting at roughly a 45-degree angle, is white colored for the bottom half, bronze for the next quarter and silver colored for the final quarter of the device.  The top edge of the cylinder is black. The bottom half of the cylinder is surrounded by supporting white colored cross beams that enable it to be bolted down to a silver-colored base plate. This base plate is rectangular in shape and contains holes all along the outer edge as well as the center going from front to back.  The device is si

The Surface and Exosphere Alterations by Landers (SEAL) was constructed in 1998 in Japan for interplanetary travel on the Nozomi. The Nozomi mission was unable to be completed so the instrument was preserved in storage until NASA refurbished the instrument for lunar missions. SEAL will take measurements as the lander enters the Moon’s orbit through descent to the lunar surface. Credit: NASA/GSFC

  • Summary: SEAL perform an in-situ measurement of lunar volatiles in the aftermath of a known perturbation (landing) which provides an opportunity to relate regolith in the lunar environment to its properties found in the laboratory. Significant studies have been devoted to volatile adsorption onto lunar soils sampled in the Apollo missions. The interaction of spent rocket propellant with the lunar regolith is a complex convolution of size-selective regolith mobilization, species-selective adsorption interactions of the propellant gases with the regolith surfaces, and penetration of gases into the regolith bed. SEAL will characterize regolith outgassing in the days following exposure to exhaust gases to collect valuable data on how pristine regolith interacts with volatile species such as N2, H2, NH3, H2O, CO, and hydrocarbons.  This data will be used to calibrate other instruments to distinguish signatures of surface composition from contamination caused by stationary landers.
  • Type of Instrument: Neutral Mass Spectrometer
  • Measures: Volatile gases
  • Task Order: CLPS TO2-AB
  • Lead Development Organization:  NASA GSFC
  • Payload PI:  Dr. Mehdi Benna


Linear Energy Transfer Spectrometer (LETS)

A rectangular green circuit board rests against a white background. On the circuit board is a gold square taking up a little less than a fourth of space in the upper right corner. There are three white arrows indicating different lengths for pieces on the board, and one indicating a timepix.

A small circuit board used within LETS instruments that spans approximately 12 cm, based on the arrows used here for scale. The Timepix technology is specifically indicated to the right. Credit: NASA/JSC

  • Summary: During lunar exploration missions outside of the Earth’s protective atmosphere, exposure to space radiation has a detrimental effect on the health of the astronauts. Lunar surface environments present a greater radiation risk to the astronaut than Low Earth Orbit (LEO). There are two sources of radiation risk for lunar surface environments. The first source of risk is the total radiation dose from Galactic Cosmic Rays, which is about twice as high on the lunar surface as in LEO. The second source of risk is from space weather events resulting from solar activity. The Linear Energy Transfer Spectrometer (LETS) is a radiation monitor that is derived from heritage hardware flown on Orion EFT-1 and slated to fly on the Orion EM-1 mission that will enable acquisition of knowledge of the lunar radiation environment and demonstrate the capabilities of a system on the lunar surface. The LETS radiation sensor is a solid-state silicon Timepix detector that is derived from heritage hardware that was flown on Orion EFT-1. This sensor will measure the rate of incident radiation providing, information that is critical to understanding and mitigating the hazardous environment that people will experience as they explore the surface of the Moon.
  • Type of Instrument: Radiation Sensor
  • Key Measurement: Radiation
  • Task Order: CLPS TO2-AB
  • Lead Development Organization:  NASA JSC
  • Payload PI:  Dr. Edward Semones

Photovoltaic Investigation on Lunar Surface (PILS)

The device of a silver rectangular board with a gold-colored outline and the top two corners being cut out in the shape of a small square.  Across the top are three screws equally spaced out. The sides contain two screws that are more spread out with some located at the bottom corner and the others being two-thirds from the bottom.  In the middle of the board are many different cutouts, each with a gold outline.  On the left side of the device are four rectangles equally spaced out. On the right there are t

he Photovoltaic Investigation on the Lunar Surface (PILS) will have the unique ability to investigate solar power on the Moon. It will include solar cells and a solar charging experiment. Credit: NASA/GRC

  • Summary: PILS a small testbed for solar cells that leveraged hardware designs from prior in-space experiments on the International Space Station to demonstrate the operation of these cells on the lunar surface.  This platform includes solar cells from multiple organizations that represent the current state of the art in III-V and Silicon technologies and some solar cells that are in qualification for future use. It also includes a solar charging experiment to shape design considerations of high voltage solar arrays on the Moon that could power long-duration missions, such as in-situ resource application systems and other lunar surface assets. Goals of the experiment include enhancing existing models for future power generation systems, determining charge buildup on solar arrays and arcing hazards in the lunar environment, and Increasing TRL of cells and arc detection capability.
  • Key Measurement:  Temperature, Current/Voltage, Charge Counts
  • Type of Instrument: Experiment with Solar Cells
  • Task Order: CLPS TO2-AB
  • Lead Development Organization:  NASA GRC
  • Payload PIs:  Jeremiah McNatt and Dr. Timothy Peshek

Near-Infrared Volatile Spectrometer System (NIRVSS)

A golden device, known as LETS, sits on a white desk. The IR lamp shines a dark purple while the SCI is a dark black. Most of the devices attached to LETS have a circular shape including: the IR lamp, SCI, Spec. Fiber Aperture, LCS, and the LEDs.

NIRVSS will measure surface and subsurface hydration on the Moon. These measurements can be taken while the instrument is moving. Credit: NASA/JSC

  • Summary: The payload includes a spectrometer context imager and a longwave calibration sensor. It measures surface and subsurface hydration (H2O and OH) and CO2 and methane (CH4) while simultaneously mapping surface morphology and surface temperature. The plan is for the measurements to take place during rover traverse when integrated onto a rover, throughout areas of targeted volatile investigation (called science stations), and during drilling activities. This instrument was created at NASA Ames Research Center. In total, it has three specific instruments: the near-infrared spectrometer, Ames imaging module, and longwave calibration sensor.
    • “The near-infrared spectrometer captures the reflected spectra of the lunar surface when illuminated with light of a variety of wavelengths. This information can be used to determine the material properties of the lunar surface and identify if water or other materials are present in an image. The Ames imaging module is a camera that captures images to contextualize the spectrometer data. The longwave calibration system precisely measures the temperature of the lunar surface to calibrate data from the spectrometer.” (January, 2021)
  • Type of Instrument: Two-channel Near-infrared Point Spectrometer
  • Key Measurement: Volatile composition of surface and subsurface
  • Task Order: CLPS TO2-AB
  • Lead Development Organization:  NASA ARC
  • Payload PI:  Dr. Anthony Colaprete

Note: See also TO20A-VIPER

Neutron Spectrometer System (NSS)

The device consists of two gold-colored cylinders which are connected to a gold-colored block in the shape of a T.  The cylinders sit on either side of the bottom portion of the T block and are clamped at the end opposing the block.  There also is a gold-colored wire coming from the bottom portion of the block and runs over the clamp and out of frame.  The wire connection end is wrapped in black electrical tape for a small portion of it.  Lastly, there are two blue arrows pointing at the golden cylinders

The neutron spectrometer will determine the composition of the majority of the regolith at the landing site as well as measure the abundance of hydrogen-bearing materials. Image Credit: NASA/ARC

  • Summary: The NSS instrument will determine the abundance of hydrogen-bearing materials and the bulk regolith composition at the landing site and measure any time variations in hydrogenous volatile abundance during the diurnal cycle. NSS can measure the total volume of hydrogen up to three feet below the surface, providing high-resolution ground truth data for measurements made from instruments in orbit around the Moon. NSS measures the number and energy of neutrons present in the lunar surface environment, which can be used to infer the amount of hydrogen present in the environment. This detection is possible because when neutrons strike a hydrogen atom, they lose a lot of energy.
  • Type of Instrument: Neutron Spectrometer
  • Key Measurement: Volatile composition in the near sub-surface; Measures cosmic ray-generated neutrons using two helium gas-proportional counters to detect thermal and epithermal neutrons with less than 0.1% uncertainty
  • Task Order: CLPS TO2-AB
  • Lead Development Organization:  NASA ARC
  • Payload PI:  Dr. Richard Elphic

Note: See also TO20A-VIPER

Neutron Measurements at the Lunar Surface (NMLS)

An NMLS engineering model without the top plate shows a golden, open-faced cube. Twin scintillator detectors appear as parallel, silver cubes affixed to the top and bottom right inside corners. Inside the right side of the cube are flat golden components that stretch vertically from top to bottom. Open space between the object takes the shape of a “T” on its side. White, electronic wiring is looped around itself and tied in place at the top. A sharpie is on the table next to the instrument for scale.

NLMS will consist of a neutron spectrometer that will measure thermal and epithermal neutron count rates. This instrument is a re-design of the Fast Neutron Spectrometer that has been on the International Space Station. Image Credit: NASA/MSFC

  • Summary: The NMLS instrument consists of two neutron counters (neutron counts above 0.4 eV and the full spectrum) that measure low energy thermal and epithermal neutron flux (a fancy way of saying the slowest moving neutrons and slightly faster neutrons) [LSM(X1] [H(2] at the lunar surface. Detections of these neutrons confirm the presence of hydrogen (and therefore confirm the presence of water) and rare earth elements. These observations will provide a “ground truth” for calibrating orbital measurements, meaning observations from the surface of the Moon that allow scientists to validate measurements made from orbit (and thus very far away)    
  • Type of Instrument: Neutron Spectrometer that is based on the Fast Neutron Spectrometer (FNS) instrument currently operating on the ISS.
  • Key Measurement: Thermal and Epithermal Neutron Flux
  • Task Order: CLPS TO2-AB
  • Lead Development Organization:  NASA MSFC
  • Payload PI:  Peter Bertone

Peregrine Ion-Trap Mass Spectrometer (PITMS)

t is held in a white container with a broad base and tapered top and the black square face completely visible on the right side. On top is a component that resembles an axle connecting two small, white cylindrical receptacles. A person in protective gear leans over the instrument in a laboratory setting. In an adjacent picture, PITMS is less visible on a table with other instruments while a lander looms in the background. Two yellow arrows running between the images help the audience understand PITMS.

The Peregrine Ion-Trap Mass Spectrometer (PITMS) is shown to the left in the lab being examined by a staff scientist; to the right, it’s shown with a model of Astrobotic’s Peregrine-1 lander for scale. PITMS will collect data to analyze volatiles in the Moon’s exosphere after descent, landing, and throughout the day. Credit: NASA/GSFC

  • Summary: PITMS will characterize the lunar exosphere after descent and landing, and throughout the lunar day, to understand the release and movement of volatile species. Previous missions have demonstrated the presence of volatiles at the lunar surface, but significant questions remain about the where those volatiles came from and how they are transported across the lunar surface. Investigating how the lunar exosphere changes over the course of a lunar day can provide insight into the transport process for volatiles on the Moon. The instrument has the ability to measure the low level of gases expected in the lunar exosphere and released by regolith interaction with surface disturbances, like rovers.

    • The PITMS sensor has direct heritage from the Ptolemy mass spectrometer that made the first in situ measurements of volatiles and organics on comet 67P with the Rosetta lander, Philae. PITMS operates in a passive sampling mode, where molecules fall into the zenith-facing aperture and are trapped by a radiofrequency field, then sequentially released for analysis. PITMS has a unit mass resolution up to an upper mass-to-charge (m/z) limit of 150 Da.

    • The PITMS investigation will provide time-resolved variability of OH, H2O, noble gases, nitrogen, and sodium compounds released from the soil and present in the exosphere over the course of a lunar day. PITMS observations will complement other instruments on board the Peregrine lander for a comprehensive approach to understanding the surface and exosphere composition, linking surface properties and composition to LADEE measurements from orbit, and providing a mid-latitude point of comparison for polar measurements planned by VIPER, PROSPECT, and other missions. The PITMS data provide a critical mid-latitude link to future polar mass specs to characterize the latitudinal migration of volatiles from equator to poles.

    • PITMS is a joint NASA-ESA project implemented by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) and ESA’s contractors Open University (OU) and STFC RAL Space, with coordination and support provided by ESA’s Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC). The integrated PITMS payload and science investigation will be operated by GSFC with an international team of scientists.

  • Type of Instrument:  Ion Trap Mass Spectrometer
  • Key Measurement:  Volatile composition in the lunar exosphere
  • Task Order: CLPS TO2-AB
  • Lead Development Organization:  NASA GSFC
  • Payload PI:  Dr. Barbara Cohen


Fluxgate Magnetometer (MAG)

The device is black and rectangular with a gold piece resting in the front. A black and white wire comes out of the front corner of the device

Caption: MAG will study certain magnetic fields to understand energy and particle pathways on the lunar surface. Credit: NASA/GSFC

  • Summary: MAG will characterize vector magnetic fields to further an understanding of energy and particle pathways at the lunar surface.  The instrument will seek to measure the magnetic fields within the tail lobe of the Earth’s magnetosphere at local noon and within the solar wind and in the lunar wake at earlier and later times in the day. The primary science goal for MAG is to understand the control of hydroxylation by the local magnetic field, subsurface electrical conductivity, and any local magnetic anomalies encountered.
  • Type of Instrument: two-range (512 nT and Earth’s field range), DC vector fluxgate magnetometer
  • Key Measurement: magnetic fields
  • Task Order: CLPS TO2-AB
  • Lead Development Organization: NASA GSFC
  • Payload PI:  Dr. Michael Purucker

Mass Spectrometer observing lunar operations (MSolo)


MSolo will allow identification of low-molecular-weight volatiles. It aims to capture classification of different molecules in the exosphere and collect information on possible formation of those volatiles. Credit: NASA/KSC

  • Summary: MSolo will identify low-molecular-weight volatiles with unit mass resolution to at high enough resolution to measure isotopes of elements including hydrogen (D/H) and oxygen (O18/O16). In other words, we can identify different molecules in the exosphere of the Moon, including possible water, and gather information about where those volatiles originally came from. MSolo will measure the gasses coming from the lander during touchdown to identify what the lander brought to the lunar surface and will monitor for changes as the mission progresses. MSolo will work in tandem with other co-manifested instruments, such as NIRVSS, to evaluate freshly churned regolith for evidence of ice and other volatiles – materials that readily evaporate at only moderately warm temperatures.
  • Type of Instrument: Quadrupole Mass Spectrometer
  • Key Measurement: volatile composition at the lunar surface
  • Task Order: CLPS TO2-AB
  • Lead Development Organization:  NASA KSC
  • Payload PI: Dr. Janine Captain, Dr. Jackie Quinn

Note: See also TO20A-VIPER and PRIME-1

Laser Retroreflector (LRA)

The instrument is on a table with only the top hemisphere of a golden ball visible. It appears hollow with eight equally sized, equidistant holes. Each hole is identical, edged in black and showing the same arrangement of thin golden lines underneath. The lines intersect at the center of each hole, creating the shape of a pie sliced into six precise pieces. A golden ruler in the corner of the image provides scale and shows LRA to be approximately five centimeters in diameter.

LRA has eight retroreflectors inside. It will be mounted on Astrobotic’s Peregrine-1 lander deck and help provide precision measurements of distances between orbiting or landing spacecraft. Credit: NASA/GSFC

This graphic image shows a large crater on the Moon’s surface in grey hues. Three images of identical spacecrafts spread across the image represent the process of a spacecraft moving in orbit as it uses LRA in different positions to measure increasingly precise distance to the surface. Red lines and conical shapes shining down from the spacecrafts represent lasers scanning the same spot indicated with a yellow star.

A graphic concept illustrates how the LRA will be located on the surface of the Moon so orbiting spacecraft can scan the surface and retroreflect to determine precise distance. Credit: NASA/GSFC


  • Summary: A retroreflector bounces any light that shines on it directly backward (180deg from the incoming light). The LRA is a collection of eight of these, each a 1.25-cm diameter glass corner cube prism, all embedded in an aluminum hemisphere (painted gold as shown here) and is mounted to the lander deck. This design ensures that the LRA can retroreflect (i.e., bounce) laser light from other orbiting and landing spacecraft over a wide range of incoming directions and efficiently retroreflect the laser signal directly back at the originating spacecraft. This enables precision laser ranging, which is a measurement of the distance between the orbiting or landing spacecraft to the LRA on the lander. The LRA is a passive optical instrument and will function as a permanent fiducial (i.e., location) marker on the Moon for decades to come. (Note: this LRA design is too small for laser ranging from the Earth).
  • Type of Instrument: Passive optical device that reflects laser light directly backward (for laser ranging)
  • Key Measurement: Provides marker for future assets to determine precise locations
  • Task Order: CLPS TO2-AB
  • Lead Development Organization:  NASA GSFC
  • Payload PI:  Dr. Xiaoli Sun

Note: See also TO2-IM, TO20A-VIPER, and PRIME-1