WASHINGTON, March 11 (UPI) -- The U.S. space agency has named 24 scientists to be involved in Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, or LRO, research.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration said the selected researchers will initiate new investigations and assist with planned measurements to be conducted by the LRO when it is launched later this year.
The LRO -- which NASA says is its first step toward returning humans to the moon -- is to conduct a one-year primary mission exploring the moon and taking measurements to identify future robotic and human landing sites. In addition, it will study lunar resources and how the moon's environment will affect humans.
The mission also will involve a spacecraft called the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite, which will impact the lunar south pole to search for evidence of polar water frost.
"LRO is a phenomenal mission for NASA," said Alan Stern, associate administrator of NASA's science mission directorate. "With the selection of these new investigators, the LRO science team is bulked up and ready for flight, and interest in lunar science is building again at a rapid pace."
A list of the scientists, including a Canadian and German researcher, and their investigations is available at http://www.nasa.gov/pdf/216482main_LRO_Participating_Scientists.pdf