By Jack Corrigan June 12, 2018 05:09 PM ET
NASA could return to the moon as soon as next year and it wants to know what tools are ready to make the trip on short notice.
The space agency on Tuesday asked industry, academia and federal agencies whether there are any technologies or equipment available for the first flights of the Commercial Lunar Payload Services program. The initiative is meant to lay the groundwork for future long-term human exploration of the moon and outer space.
NASA plans to use the early CLPS missions to test and prototype the instruments and equipment scientists will use to study the moon more broadly. Researchers are specifically looking for information on “existing hardware that can be used for flight with little to no payload development necessary,” the agency said in a post on FedBizOpps.
The agency said missions could take flight as early as 2019, but also asked vendors whether later launch dates would impact the availability and cost of potential payloads. NASA said it will consider a wide range of potential technologies for upcoming missions, including engineering models, flight spares and modified off-the-shelf instruments.
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