NASA chose the Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3) to fly as part of the scientific
payload for the Indian Space Research Organization’s (ISRO) Chandraayan-1
mission, slated for launch in 2007. The M3 is designed to create a
mineral-resource map of the moon. It will be flown as part of the
Chandraayan-1 mission if it is selected by ISRO in an independent competition.

“This exciting scientific experiment will provide detailed maps of the moon’s
surface geology and mineral composition for the first time,” said NASA’s
Deputy Associate Administrator of the Science Mission Directorate at NASA
Headquarters, Dr. Ghassem Asrar. “The M3 investigation also complements the
six experiments recently selected by NASA in response to the Lunar
Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) Announcement of Opportunity. Together, the M3 and
LRO investigations support NASA research and exploration objectives for the
moon,” he said.

The final confirmation of the M3 investigation is subject to successful
negotiation of an international agreement between NASA and ISRO.

Created in 1992, NASA’s Discovery Program sponsors frequent, cost-capped solar
system exploration missions with highly focused scientific goals. In July
2004, NASA received 18 proposals in response to an Announcement of Opportunity
for Discovery missions and Missions of Opportunity. Proposals were evaluated
for scientific merit, technical, management and cost feasibility. The M3
mission was proposed to the Discovery Program as a Mission of Opportunity.

“We are looking forward to the March release of the Discovery 12 Announcement
of Opportunity that will provide greater flexibility commensurate with the
technical complexities associated with Discovery class experiments,” said
Andrew Dantzler, Acting Director of NASA’s Solar System Division. For
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