NASA DALI Grants- Awarding Grants to Pioneer Lunar Instrumentation

NASA, DALI Grants, Lunar Exploration, Artemis Campaign, Lunar Instrumentation, Space Technology, Lunar Science, Space Weather, Lunar Water, Ground Penetrating Radar, Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy, Magnetometer, Lunar Missions, Space Research, Planetary Science

Discover how NASA’s DALI grants are advancing lunar exploration by funding innovative instruments for future missions. From space weather monitoring to searching for lunar water, these projects at the forefront of space technology promise to deepen our understanding of the Moon. Learn about the cutting-edge research shaping the future of lunar science.


Introduction to DALI Grants

NASA has recently announced the awarding of Development and Advancement of Lunar Instrumentation (DALI) grants to five distinguished scientists and engineers. These grants are aimed at fostering the development of innovative instrumentation for potential future lunar missions. The initiative is part of NASA’s broader efforts to support scientific and technological innovation, particularly through its Commercial Lunar Payload Services and the Artemis campaign. The awards were announced during NASA’s Technology Development Plan plenary session at the 55th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference (LPSC) held in The Woodlands, Texas.

NASA’s Commitment to Innovation

Joel Kearns, deputy associate administrator for exploration in NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, emphasized the agency’s dedication to promoting research and innovation in science and technology. He noted that the selected instruments must demonstrate new technologies capable of significantly enhancing measurement capabilities, thereby addressing critical lunar science questions. This initiative underscores NASA’s overarching mission to advance space exploration through cutting-edge scientific instruments and technology.

DALI’s Goals and Awardee Projects

The DALI program seeks to develop and demonstrate promising instruments for future NASA flight opportunities, with the expectation that these instruments will be ready for flight hardware build following a three-year project period. Each grantee receives approximately $1 million per year to develop their instrument. The selected projects are spearheaded by experts based at leading institutions across the United States and cover a wide range of scientific objectives.

Compact Electron Proton Spectrometer

Stuart George from NASA’s Johnson Space Center is working on the Compact Electron Proton Spectrometer (CEPS), designed to monitor space weather and radiation, crucial for the safety and health of astronauts on the lunar surface.

Lunar Capillary Absorption Spectrometer

Jason Kriesel of Opto-Knowledge Systems, Inc, in collaboration with Honeybee Robotics and NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, is developing an instrument to measure lunar water and volatiles, which could provide insights into the Moon’s water history and planetary processes.

Synthetic Pulse Artemis Radar

David Stillman from the Southwest Research Institute is leading the development of the Synthetic Pulse Artemis Radar for Crustal Imaging (SPARCI), a ground-penetrating radar for detailed subsurface lunar imaging, aiding in understanding the Moon’s geological history.

Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy

Jeffrey Gillis-Davis at Washington University is focusing on developing an instrument for measuring lunar material chemistry, essential for identifying lunar rock types and understanding the Moon’s volatile resources.

Ultra-stable Fluxgate Magnetometer

Hao Cao from the University of California, Los Angeles, is working on a miniaturized, low-power fluxgate magnetometer for precise monitoring of lunar magnetic fields, offering insights into the Moon’s interior and the Earth-Moon system’s formation.

Future Directions and Submission Deadline

As NASA prepares for the DALI24 Step-1 submissions deadline on April 12, 2024, the DALI program exemplifies the agency’s commitment to integrating science into all facets of lunar exploration. Managed by the Science Mission Directorate’s Exploration Science Strategy and Integration Office, DALI is a critical component of NASA’s Lunar Discovery and Exploration Program, ensuring that the frontier of lunar exploration continues to be informed by scientific excellence and technological innovation.

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