NASA selects University of Tokyo-led instrument for Artemis lunar project

US space agency NASA has chosen an instrument developed by an international team, including the University of Tokyo, for astronauts to deploy on the surface of the moon on an Artemis mission.

NASA announced on Tuesday its selection of instruments to be used in the Artemis lunar exploration project.

The US-led international project aims to put astronauts back on the moon in 2026 for the first time in about half a century since the Apollo program. Japan is taking part in the project.

The international research group led by University of Tokyo Professor Miyamoto Hideaki is developing the Lunar Dielectric Analyzer, which is designed to measure the regolith's ability to propagate an electric field.

The instrument will gather essential information about the structure of the moon's subsurface and help search for lunar volatiles, especially ice. Water is thought to exist in the solid form of ice in the lunar south polar region.

Miyamoto said he is surprised and felt happy to hear the news of selection. He said it is so exciting to think astronauts will take the team's instrument to the moon that he cannot sleep at night.