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NASA’s Farside Seismic Suite: Unveiling Cutting-Edge Lunar Technology

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In a groundbreaking development, NASA‘s Farside Seismic Suite (FSS) has been meticulously assembled at the renowned Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California. This state-of-the-art suite comprises two advanced seismometers housed in a unique cube-within-a-cube structure, marking NASA’s resurgence in lunar seismic data collection after nearly half a century. The primary goal of this mission is to capture unprecedented seismic measurements from the Moon‘s far side.

The interior of the FSS reveals a high-tech setup, showcasing the Short-Period sensor (SP) and the Very Broadband seismometer (VBB). The SP, engineered to detect motion in three dimensions through innovative sensor technology, stands out with its precision. On the other hand, the VBB, originally crafted as a backup tool for CNES’s InSight Mars lander, has been specially customized for lunar exploration with unmatched sensitivity, capable of measuring infinitesimal ground motions.

Caltech‘s Jet Propulsion Laboratory spearheaded the meticulous design, assembly, and testing of the Farside Seismic Suite, with pivotal contributions from esteemed entities such as CNES, IPGP, Université Paris Cité, CNRS, Imperial College, University of Oxford, Kinemetrics, and the University of Michigan. This collaborative effort underscores the global partnership driving cutting-edge technological advancements in space exploration.

Aligned with NASA’s PRISM initiative, the FSS project is a testament to the agency’s commitment to unraveling the mysteries of celestial bodies. Funded by NASA’s Science Mission Directorate and steered by the Planetary Missions Program Office at the Marshall Space Flight Center, the FSS is set to touch down on the lunar surface as part of a transformative mission under the agency’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) initiative.

Rachel Adams

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