Johns Hopkins APL Joins Lunar Observation Team for NASA’s SIMPLEx Program

Jeff Brody

NASA has selected a team that includes a scientist from Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory as a finalist for the agency’s Small Innovative Missions for Planetary Exploration program.

Rachel Klima, a planetary scientist at APL, will serve as the team’s deputy principal investigator and help oversee the development of the Lunar Trailblazer concept focused on using a small satellite to analyze the presence of water on the lunar surface, APL said Thursday.

The team will deploy a 16.4-foot cube-shaped satellite that will carry advanced imaging systems from a 62.13-mile orbit for a year. Researchers will use the smallsat’s findings to develop a high-resolution map that contains data on water present on the moon.

Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, said the team’s miniature instruments help decrease costs while “performing targeted science missions and testing brand new technologies that future missions can use.”

The agency also selected a University of Colorado Boulder and Lockheed Martin team as one of the SIMPLEx program’s three finalists for their Janus smallsat concept for observing binary asteroids.

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