artist's satellite depiction

An artist's depiction of the Lunar IceCube satellite. (Image credit: Morehead State University)

The main mission of Artemis 1 is to test the new Space Launch System rocket and the ground systems at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Humans will return to the moon in a few years, according to NASA.

Artemis 1 will be going to the moon and taking with it 10 secondary payloads. There are two cubesats that are designed to look for water on the moon. Water is important for long-duration missions since would-be explorers hope to harvest air and rocket fuel from the ice.

Morehead State University is working on a project called lunar ice cube. The cubesat will carry a NASA instrument that will map water on the lunar surface as well as in the exosphere, a thin layer of gas around the moon.

Photos explain NASA's Artemis 1 moon mission.

Mark Lupisella, a NASA exploration research and development manager, said in a statement that lunar ice cube will help pave the way for human missions through less expensive robotic missions. Reducing the cost of human missions over the long-term is something that this is important for.

According to NASA, the mission will test a new ion propulsion thruster, which uses small amounts of propellant to give a small push and drive the craft along its path, similar to butterfly wings.

Benjamin Malphrus is the executive director of the Space Science Center at Morehead State University. A new era of space exploration will be ushered in with the opening of the solar system exploration with small satellite platforms.

Water ice at the moon's south pole will be studied by the lunar polar hydrogen mapper. Arizona State University is developing a 30 pound cubesat.

The principal investigator of the mission said that there is an increased abundance of hydrogen at the lunar poles. We do not know how much or where.

LunaH-Map will use two neutron spectrometers to map hydrogen deposits in the top 3 feet of the moon. The most detailed map of water ice at the south pole will be created by scientists.

Future missions to the moon and beyond will be helped by the data gathered by Artemis 1. NASA intends for Artemis 1 to kick off an ambitious lunar exploration program.

"Anything we learn about the moon is useful," he said. The moon is a proving ground for technology and exploration, and the knowledge we gain there will help us establish a presence on other planets, such as Mars.

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