Beyond their extensive systems engineering expertise in space mission and technology development for NASA, the Department of Defense and other government agencies, beyond performing cutting-edge research with innovative and often built-in-house tools, scientists and engineers in APL's space sector are leading and developing initiatives that will facilitate the exploration of the Moon and could define the future of space exploration. 

Technology for Exploring the Lunar Surface

Image of astronaut David Scott from Apollo 15 on the Moon
Image from 1971 of astronaut David R. Scott, Apollo 15 commander, standing on the slope of Hadley Delta on the lunar surface. Credit: NASA/JSC

As the United States sets a course to return people to the Moon, APL, with sponsorship from NASA's Space Technology Mission Directorate, is leading an effort that brings the nation's most creative innovators from universities, nonprofit organizations, commercial companies and government agencies to catalyze the development of technology that will enable future robotic and human exploration of the Moon. As part of NASA’s Lunar Surface Innovation Initiative (LSII), the Lunar Surface Innovation Consortium (LSIC) will help NASA keep the United States at the forefront of lunar exploration. 

Click below to find out more about how APL is helping prepare the nation and the world for the future human presence on the Moon.

Ice Giant Research and Exploration

Artist Rendering of Neptune

In the decades since NASA’s Voyager 2 spacecraft explored the solar system’s ice giants, Uranus and Neptune, APL has made concerted efforts to underscore the scientific value of these planets and provide innovative conceptual missions to return to their azure skies. Uranus system exploration was recently prioritized by the 2023 National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine’s Planetary Science and Astrobiology Decadal Survey. Through research, workshops and seminars, APL researchers and engineers are helping establish a framework and community that will maximize the scientific returns of a potential future mission.

Click below to learn more about APL’s research and leadership related to the investigation and exploration of the ice giants.