The Lunar Surface Electromagnetics Experiment-Night (LuSEE-Night) is a pathfinder which will study the Moon’s radio environment and potentially take a first look at a previously unobserved era in our cosmic history. It will use deployable antennas and radio receivers to observe sensitive radio waves from the Dark Ages for the first time.
LuSEE-Night, is a collaboration between the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory, the University of California, Berkeley, Space Science Laboratory, and NASA’s Science Mission Directorate. It is managed for NASA by the Planetary Missions Program Office at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. Read more...
UPDATE September 2023 - Firefly wins add-on NASA CLPS contract for unique Moon-based astronomy mission
Following a $112 million contract to deliver an orbiter and two surface payloads to the Moon in 2026, Firefly has won an extended $18 million contract as part of NASA’s CLPS program to provide frequency calibration services for the mission’s radio astronomy payload called LuSEE-Night. For this second CLPS mission from the company, Firefly will use a similar “Blue Ghost” lander design as for its first CLPS flight in 2024 but also add an “Elytra” transfer stage to deliver the 280-kilogram Lunar Pathfinder spacecraft for ESA to lunar orbit. Pathfinder is a stepping stone towards Moonlight, ESA’s upcoming commercial navigation and communications constellation around Luna.
The Firefly lander itself will attempt a touchdown on the Moon’s farside carrying LuSEE-Night, which will push the boundaries of cosmology and lunarbound science by measuring faint but unique radio signals from our Universe’s ‘Dark Age’—a slice of time right before the first stars were born. The lander will also host the “User Terminal” payload to enable LuSEE-Night to communicate to and from Earth via Lunar Pathfinder. Firefly’s Elytra stage, itself also remaining in lunar orbit thereafter, will provide radio frequency calibrations for LuSEE-Night while also serving as another communications relay for the lander.