NASA picks three companies to send robotic landers to the Moon to study the lunar surface

<em>An artistic rendering of a robotic lander on the Moon’s surface.</em>” src=”https://cdn.vox-cdn.com/thumbor/nvSsL_uiS80iVyn3u9l-GJiBvJI=/0x428:1409×1367/1310×873/cdn.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_image/image/63930029/main_image.0.jpg”></p>
<p>Today, NASA announced that it has <a href=selected three commercial companies to send the first round of robotic landers to the Moon as part of the agency’s overall goal of returning humans to the lunar surface. The three US companies — Astrobotic, Orbit Beyond, and Intuitive Machines — are tasked with developing small spacecraft that can safely carry NASA payloads and instruments to the lunar surface and study the Moon in more detail. Their landers are expected to fly in 2020 and 2021.

These companies are partners with NASA through the agency’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) initiative. CLPS is the first phase of NASA’s Artemis program, the agency’s initiative to send the first woman and the next man to the Moon. But CLPS is focused…

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