"NASA has awarded Intuitive Machines of Houston approximately $47 million to deliver a drill combined with a mass spectrometer to the Moon by December 2022 under the agency’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services initiative," the release said on Friday.
The delivery of the Polar Resources Ice Mining Experiment (PRIME-1) will help NASA search for ice at the Moon’s South Pole and for the first time extract ice from below the lunar surface, the release explained.
NASA STMD funds PRIME-1.— Future Spaces (@SpacesFuture) October 16, 2020
Honeybee Robotics is developing the ice-mining drill.
NASA KSC in partnership with INFICON is developing the mass spectrometer.
"The information we’ll gain from PRIME-1 and other science instruments and technology demonstrations we’re sending to the lunar surface will inform our Artemis missions with astronauts and help us better understand how we can build a sustainable lunar presence," NASA Associate Administrator for Science Thomas Zurbuchen said in the release.
PRIME-1 will land on the Moon and drill up to three feet (about one meter) below the surface, then measure with a mass spectrometer how much ice in the sample is lost to sublimation as the ice turns from a solid to a vapor in the vacuum of the lunar environment, according to NASA.