NMLS is a project to deliver an instrument manifested on Astrobotic Technology’s Peregrine Lander Mission One, to be launched on the new ULA Vulcan Centaur, landing on the Lacus Mortis plateau (44oN, 25oE). Astrobotic was selected as a commercial lander provider to deliver fourteen payloads to the lunar surface under the NASA Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) initiative. The NMLS instrument is a re-design of the Fast Neutron Spectrometer (FNS) currently operating on the International Space Station, enabling lunar surface operation, integration into the Peregrine Lander and measurement of the thermal and epi-thermal neutron count rates on the Moon. The primary science objectives for the NMLS project are to provide ground truth for neutron map data from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter and Lunar Prospector missions as well as to constrain surface composition models.
The multilayer insulation (MLI) has recently been delivered to the NSSTC and fit-tested using the NMLS engineering unit and a template version of the MLI. The NMLS flight unit has been cleaned, bagged and packed for hand-carry shipment to Astrobotic where it will be integrated onto the lander payload deck. The launch date is now NET mid-2022. Funding for the NMLS project is provided through the NASA SMD Lunar Discovery and Exploration (LDEP) Program.