Probing Our Nearest Celestial Neighbor

Formed from the cataclysmic collision of young Earth with a Mars-sized rock, the Moon holds many secrets about the solar system’s history and can serve as the next launch pad for human space exploration.

APL’s lunar experts study everything from how craters form to how volatile molecules such as hydrogen are distributed around the Moon. They study the chemical composition, weathering, geology and volcanic history of the Moon and help to lead several instruments on NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) – including cameras that have imaged the Moon in unprecedented detail, and the Mini-RF instruments that use radar to provide critical information about volatile molecules on the lunar surface. APL also operates the Lunar Surface Innovation Consortium (LSIC), which connects experts from academia, industry and government to shape the technologies and systems needed to explore the Moon in new ways.

Expertise in Action


Largest Group of Lunar Surface Experts in the World

With a broad and distinguished base of cislunar experts and a demonstrated ability to work across the civil and national security space domains, APL is uniquely positioned as a trusted government agent to implement and integrate critical elements of our nation’s lunar strategy. Through partnerships with government, academia, and industry, APL is making critical contributions to the development of cislunar infrastructure to ensure our nation’s security interests are protected, support development of a sustainable cislunar presence, and advance pioneering science.


While APL may be known for engaging in space-firsts and building first-of-its-kind spacecraft that deflect asteroids or touch the Sun, it also has a deep knowledge base of science and engineering experts who provide critical contributions to critical challenges. Through initiatives like Planetary Defense, Heliophysics and Space Weather, and Cislunar Operations, APL is able to deliver game-changing impacts for civil and national security.