Lunar Surface Dielectric Analyzer Instrument Selected for NASA Artemis Mission

Category: Cover Story

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The three payloads were selected for further development to fly on Artemis III that’s targeted to launch in 2026.

The Lunar Surface Dielectric Analyzer (LDA) will measure the regolith’s ability to propagate an electric field with changing Sun angle, which in turn is a key parameter to help scientists better search for and locate water ice and other volatiles crucial to future of human activity on the Moon.

LDA is an international collaboration with team members from many institutes of Japan, the US and Australia. “We really appreciate that the Artemis science team sees the merits of LDA. We are very excited to be a part of NASA’s great activity on the Moon,” Miyamoto said.

PSI CEO Mark Sykes said, “We are honored to support Professor Miyamoto in his effort to include this important instrument in the Artemis program. We congratulate him and his team on their success!”

LDA will gather essential information about the structure of the Moon’s subsurface, monitor dielectric changes caused by the changing angle of the Sun as the Moon rotates, and look for possible frost formation or ice deposits. LDA, an internationally contributed payload, is led by Miyamoto of the University of Tokyo and supported by JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency).

Artemis III, the first mission to return astronauts to the surface of the Moon in more than 50 years, will explore the south polar region of the Moon, within 6 degrees of latitude from the South Pole. Several proposed landing regions for the mission are located among some of the oldest parts of the Moon. Together with the permanently shadowed regions, they provide the opportunity to learn about the history of the Moon through previously unstudied lunar materials.

Prototype model of the Lunar Surface Dielectric Analyzer. Credit: University of Tokyo.