The US space agency is geared up to send five payloads on Monday to the Moon aboard Astrobotic’s Peregrine lander called Astrobotic Peregrine Mission One, in its first launch of 2024.

The inaugural launch under the agency’s CLPS (Commercial Lunar Payload Services) initiative will blast off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on a United Launch Alliance Vulcan rocket.

NASA payloads will aim to locate water molecules on the Moon, measure radiation and gases around the lander, and evaluate the lunar exosphere (the thin layer of gases on the Moon’s surface).

These measurements will improve our understanding of how solar radiation interacts with the lunar surface, the space agency said in a statement.

The payloads will also provide data to NASA’s Lunar-VISE (Lunar Vulkan Imaging and Spectroscopy Explorer) instrument suite, slated to land on the Gruithuisen Domes in 2026.

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“We are so excited to see this vision become a reality. CLPS is an innovative way of leveraging American companies to send important science and technology payloads to the Moon,” said Nicola Fox, associate administrator, the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington.

“The Moon is a rich destination for scientific discovery. Studying and sampling the lunar environment will help NASA unravel some of the greatest mysteries of our solar system for the benefit of all,” Fox added.

The Peregrine lander is targeted to land on February 23 at Sinus Viscositatis, a lunar feature outside of the hardened lava Gruithuisen Domes on the near side of the Moon.

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Similar natural structures on Earth require large volumes of water to form, leading scientists to believe that this landing site may contain evidence of water on the Moon, said NASA.

Astrobotic is one of 14 vendors eligible to carry NASA payloads to the Moon through the CLPS initiative, which began in 2018.