Lunar Flashlight is an exciting new mission concept that was recently selected by NASA's Advanced Exploration Systems (AES) by a team from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the Marshall Space Flight Center. Planned to launch on the Space Launch System's Exploration Mission-1 (EM-1) flight, this innovative, low-cost secondary payload concept will map the lunar south pole for volatiles and demonstrate several technological firsts, including being the first CubeSat to reach the Moon, the first planetary CubeSat mission to use green propulsion, and the first mission to use lasers to look for water ice.

Artist's concept showing the Lunar Flashlight spacecraft searching for ice on the Moon's surface using special lasers
This artist's concept shows the Lunar Flashlight spacecraft, a six-unit CubeSat designed to search for ice on the Moon's surface using special lasers. The spacecraft will use its near-infrared lasers to shine light into shaded polar regions on the Moon, while an onboard reflectometer will measure surface reflection and composition. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech > Full image and caption

Artist's concept showing the Lunar Flashlight spacecraft (from above) searching for ice on the Moon's surface using special lasers
This artist's concept shows a view from above the Lunar Flashlight spacecraft, a six-unit CubeSat designed to search for ice on the Moon's surface using special lasers. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
> Full image and caption