(ORDO NEWS) — Mysterious objects
NASA will send a spacecraft to the lunar surface to study ” one of the lunar ‘s most unusual and mysterious natural features .”
The agency has signed a new contract with Intuitive Machines to send its Nova-C spacecraft to the moon as part of the IM0-3 mission, tentatively scheduled for 2024.
The device will try to land in Gamma Reiner, a mysterious lunar vortex , and is planned to significantly expand our understanding of the natural satellite of the Earth.
We still don’t know much about these vortices, including how they form and how they might be related to the moon’s magnetic field.
Until 1966, scientists believed vortices to be craters, according to NASA. But NASA’s Lunar Orbiter II spacecraft came close enough to make sure it wasn’t, which made scientists think. In 1972, scientists discovered that the vortices were magnetized, with one vortex on one side mysteriously causing other vortices to form on the opposite side of the moon.
“This mission to the moon will help the United States expand our capabilities and learn more about this interesting region,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, assistant administrator for NASA’s Science Missions Office, in a statement.
“Observing lunar vortices can give us information about the radiation environment on the moon and, possibly, how to mitigate its effects.”
Understanding the radiation levels on the moon is key to NASA’s plans to establish a sustainable presence on the lunar surface.
The IMO-3 mission will send over 200 pounds of payload to Rainer Gamma, including equipment to measure the lunar magnetic field. A swarm of small robots will also be sent on board to create a 3D map of the area.
Lunar vortices remain a mystery. Studying them could provide us with important clues about the Moon’s magnetic field and how we can protect future astronauts from the fierce solar winds hitting its surface.
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