Scientists at the University of Colorado will build a $6 million high-tech lunar dust detector for NASA's exploration mission to the moon set for launch in 2011.
The detector, along with $5 million to create the Colorado Center for Lunar Dust and Atmospheric Studies that will test and calibrate the detector, are part of $17 million in grants awarded to the university Friday.
Scientists at the school will also use $6 million to design an array of antennas in a crater on the dark side of the moon to help scientist research deep space without interference from Earth. The grant will also be used to create the Lunar University Node for Astrophysics Research.
The two new centers at the school, plus Boulder-based Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, are part of NASA's Lunar Science Institute.