NASA Picks Instrument Suites for 2026 Lunar Research
The Lunar Vulkan Imaging and Spectroscopy Explorer will explore the summit of one of the Gruithuisen Domes, whose formation involved a kind of silica-rich magma, unlike on Earth, where the evolution of similar structures would have involved plate tectonics and liquid water. The suite consists of five instruments, two of which will be mounted on a stationary lander and the rest to be mounted on a mobile rover.
The other suite is the Lunar Explorer Instrument for space biology Applications, a cube satellite-based device that will perform biological research on the moon. LEIA will be used to study how a certain kind of yeast will respond to radiation and lunar gravity and better understand how space environments can affect genetics, cellular and molecular replication and DNA damage.
The Lunar-VISE payload suite will be led by Kerri Donaldson Hanna from the University of Central Florida while the LEIA payload suite will be led by Andrew Settles from the NASA Ames Research Center.
The space agency will work with the CLPS office to issue task orders to deliver the instrument suites to the moon in 2026. The solutions were selected through NASA’s Payloads and Research Investigations on the Surface of the Moon call for proposals.
Tags: Andrew Settles Artemis Program Commercial Lunar Payload Services Kerri Donaldson Hanna LEIA lunar exploration Lunar-VISA NASA space