Science: The Moon and Beyond

At Tranquility BaseNASA

Apollo 11

The primary goal of the first Moon landing mission was to demonstrate that the Apollo spacecraft systems could safely land two astronauts on the surface and return them safely to Earth. During the first lunar surface spacewalk, the crew spent about two hours outside the Lunar Module. In addition to collecting rock and soil samples for return to Earth, the astronauts performed several science experiments.

Apollo 11 Seismic ExperimentNASA


The passive seismometer experiment was a seismic station to detect meteorite impacts and moonquakes. The experiment was solar-powered and had its own communications capability so that it transmitted its results back to Earth after the astronauts departed the lunar surface. If the Moon is seismically active (and it is), the instrument could provide information about its internal structure and possibly yield clues about its formation.

The MoonNASA


The laser ranging retroreflector experiment was a retroreflector array, made from cubes of fused silica, with a folding support structure for aiming and aligning the array toward the Earth. Laser ranging beams from the Earth were reflected back to their point of origin for precise measurement of Earth-Moon distances, motion of the Moon's center of mass, lunar radius, and Earth geophysical information.

Ice Confirmed at the Moon’s PolesNASA

Moon to Mars

The Moon is a treasure chest of science. The lunar samples returned during the Apollo program dramatically changed our view of the solar system. Yet, we are just scratching the surface of knowledge about the Moon.

Ice on the Poles

We believe the poles of the Moon hold tons of water ice. That ice represents power. It represents fuel. It represents science. The farther humans venture into space, the more important it becomes to manufacture materials and products with local resources. We know the Moon can tell us more about our own planet, and even our own Sun. There is so much more to learn – knowledge we can acquire with a sustained human and robotic presence on the Moon. 

NASA Selects First Commercial Moon Landing Services for Artemis ProgramNASA

Commercial Lunar Payload Services

By the time NASA sends crew to the lunar surface in the next five years, many science and technology demonstrations will be sent to the lunar surface through commercial Moon deliveries, helping us learn more about the Moon ahead of a human return. The first lunar commercial delivery is targeted for September 2020.

Commercial landers renderingNASA

Commercial Landers

NASA has selected commercial landers that will fly science and technology demonstration payloads to the Moon. These payloads represent an early step toward the agency’s long-term scientific study and human exploration of the Moon and, later, Mars.

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