LunA-10: DARPA’s vision for new lunar infrastructure

10-year journey towards an optimized, integrated moon economy

DARPA’s Strategic Technology Office has introduced an ambitious 10-year plan known as the LunA-10 capability study. This initiative aims to create a framework for optimized, integrated lunar infrastructure that is shareable and scalable. Anticipating a growing cislunar and lunar economy, DARPA is seeking innovative solutions that will establish a new era of commercial development on the Moon.

“A large paradigm shift is coming in the next 10 years for the lunar economy,”

Dr. Michael “Orbit” Nayak, DARPA’s Strategic Technology Office

Shift in lunar economy

DARPA’s LunA-10 aims to create foundational technology concepts that integrate shareable systems, allowing for minimized lunar footprint and the creation of monetizable services.

Collaborative, interdisciplinary approach

The seven-month study will include both lunar providers and users, seeking to identify new opportunities for scientific and commercial activities on the Moon through collective infrastructure investments.

NASA illustration of Artemis astronauts Credit NASA

Thrust areas of focus

The study identifies key sectors such as transit/mobility, energy, communications, and other innovative orbital or surface infrastructure concepts, reflecting a comprehensive approach to lunar development.

Catalyzing economic development on the Moon

LunA-10 focuses on facilitating the fusing and co-optimization of infrastructure sectors, aiming to create key nodes that can be scaled up in the future to support commercial economy on the Moon.

No direct funding for construction

Though the study will not directly fund technology construction or transportation to the lunar surface, DARPA intends to provide economic expertise to all LunA-10 teams to analyze and validate critical mass for a thriving lunar economy. This would complement NASA’s Moon to Mars Objectives focused on human exploration, science, and experimentation on the Moon.

LunA-10 Study Details

The future of lunar interactions

A coherent vision of lunar infrastructure requires an interdisciplinary and integrative approach that transcends isolated efforts. DARPA’s LunA-10 capability study provides a thought-provoking look into the future of lunar economy and commercial development, balancing both technological and economic considerations. It emphasizes collaboration, innovation, and a profound appreciation for the potential of shared and scalable systems. This perspective mirrors the principles of long-term planning and thoughtful stewardship that will shape the future of our lunar interactions.

Additional reading: Lunar Surface Innovation Consortium (LSIC), Artemis Missions Lunar Terrain Vehicle, NASA’s Blueprint for Moon to Mars Exploration, NASA’s Artemis Missions Return to the Moon


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