NASA’s LunaH-Map (Lunar Polar Hydrogen Mapper) mission, a briefcase-sized lunar orbiter that launched as a ride share on NASA’s Artemis I mission in 2022, demonstrated a small neutron spectrometer can detect water and ice at the lunar surface.
The LunaH-Map performed a flyby of the Moon shortly after its Nov. 16, 2022, launch on the Space Launch System rocket, but challenges with the spacecraft’s thruster valve prevented it achieving its planned science orbit around the lunar South Pole. This ambitious orbit was designed to take measurements from altitudes as low as 6.2 miles (10 kilometers), including over the permanently shadowed regions of the Moon.
PESTO develops technologies like the Miniature Neutron Spectrometer(Mini-NS)—a neutron detector funded by PSD’s PICASSO program that will flyon the Lunar Polar Hydrogen Mapper (LunaH-Map) pictured above. The6-unit LunaH-Map CubeSat will produce the most detailed map todate of the Moon’s water deposits.