International Lunar Observatory to be Established at Moon’s South Pole in 2019

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Moon Express PR) — International Lunar Observatory Association (ILOA) and Moon Express have announced a collaboration for the delivery of the first International Lunar Observatory to the South Pole of the Moon in 2019 (ILO-1). Moon Express has been contracted by ILOA to develop advanced landing technologies supporting the mission.

The ILO-1 astrophysical observatory and research station will be the world’s first instrument to image the Milky Way Galaxy and to conduct international astrophysical observations and communications from the lunar surface.

The ILO-1 will be landed on a ‘peak of eternal light’ at the lunar South Pole by a Moon Express robotic explorer system. The primary landing site under analysis is Malapert Mountain, a 5km tall peak in the Aitken Basin region that is bathed in sunshine most of the time and has 24/7 direct line of sight to Earth as well as to Shackleton Crater for communications. Moon Express will utilize the mission to explore the Moon’s South Pole for mineral resources and water.

“The primary goal of the International Lunar Observatory is to expand human understanding of the Galaxy and Cosmos through observation and communications from our Moon,” said ILOA founder and director, Steve Durst. “We are extremely excited to work with Moon Express to establish a presence on the Moon in 2019, the 50th anniversary year of Apollo 11.”

The advanced landing technologies under development for the mission include precision landing and hazard avoidance that will allow a Moon Express robotic landing system to deliver the ILO-1 to the challenging terrain of the Moon’s South Pole.

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  • Jimmy S. Overly

    Why do you choose Moon Express for this? Did the International Lunar Observatory Association (had no idea that was a thing) contact Masten Space Systems about this project?

    Seems like more snake oil and hot air from honorary doctor Bob Richards and pals.

  • Terry Rawnsley

    They better hope it can run for years without breaking down. Not like you can just send a couple of folks up to fix it.

  • Paul451

    How is that more of a thing for a lunar instrument than any space-based instrument?

  • Terry Rawnsley

    I’d have more confidence if these folks had a track record. Of course, nowadays you put out a press release announcing your great plan and then hope you can actually pull it off.

  • OldCodger

    Lunar dust is a major problem for our devices. Not to say it can’t be done but it is an added difficulty in which we have very limited experience especially for long running devices over just space based where we have quite a lot of experience.

  • Paul451

    I don’t think it was Terry meant, but it’s a fair point.

    However, on that point, you don’t gain experience by delaying the very first system because you don’t have experience… that’s a closed loop. Instead, you make the first system cheaper and simpler, a disposable learning exercise.

  • Andrew_M_Swallow

    Lunar dust will be a problem when the lander lands but since the site is static will it be a problem after that? Would a dust cover removed after say a few hours work?