NASA aims to land payloads on Moon next year, signaling more local space activity

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    While NASA may take a bit longer to send astronauts on a trip around the moon, it is working quickly to ship technology there.

    On Oct. 18, NASA issued a call for lunar surface instrument and technology payloads that will fly to the moon on commercial lunar landers as early as 2019 or 2020. The agency is preparing to buy commercial lunar payload delivery services for small payloads, and develop lunar landers for large payloads to conduct more research on the Moon’s surface ahead of a human return.