NASA has revealed new mission plans to explore the Gruithuisen Domes on the Moon. These domes have long been a mystery for the space community. With the Artemis missions, NASA hopes to finally understand how the domes formed.
NASA wants to explore the Gruithuisen Domes on the Moon’s surface
The space agency shared the plans in early June, noting that it has added another mission directive to the Artemis missions. This directive will utilize two new science instrument suites, one of which will explore the mysterious Gruithuisen Domes for the first time.
These studies will help address “important scientific questions related to the Moon,” Joel Kearns, a deputy associate administrator for exploration in NASA’s Science Mission Directorate explained. “The first will study geologic processes of early planetary bodies that are preserved on the Moon.” The second study will look into the effects of the Moon’s low gravity on yeast.
NASA says its Lunar Vulkan Imaging and Spectroscopy Explorer (Lunar-VISE) will explore the summit of one of the Gruithuisen Domes. It will explore it over the course of 10 Earth days. NASA scientists suspect that the domes formed thanks to sticky magma rich in silica. The composition, NASA notes, may be similar to granite on Earth.
Typically, these types of formations need oceans and liquid water, as well as tectonics to form. However, the Moon does not have these key ingredients. This is why the Gruithuisen Domes have been such a mystery for so long.
Other Moon missions
On top of sending a mission to explore the Gruithuisen Domes, NASA has plenty of other missions set to go to the Moon. For starters, it is gearing up to send Artemis 1 into space. This rocket will carry the Orion mission, which is a satellite that will orbit our planet’s Lunar body.
NASA also wants to put humans back on the Moon sometime down the line. This includes the first woman and person of color. And, we can’t forget the upcoming manned mission to Mars set for the 2030s. Not to mention that NASA may launch from it a space station in orbit around the Moon.
With the space agency set to explore the Gruithuisen Domes, and set up a station around the Moon, there’s a lot for space lovers to look forward to. In the meantime, we can prepare for the first images from James Webb. And, who knows what else Hubble captures during its operations.