Representatives from NASA are looking for partners interested in developing small, robotic payload providers that can be sent to the surface of the moon. The idea is to use the Earth satellite as a testing ground for testing and improving the technologies necessary to form a permanent colony on Mars.
First of all, NASA is interested in learning how to use robotic missions on the moon to apply them later on Mars. It is important for them to understand how future missions can use technology on the Red Planet to generate resources, such as water and oxygen, create fuel for spacecraft, form building materials, etc.
Flight to Mars includes many intermediate stages and the development of the Earth satellite - one of them. During dozens of years of studying the moon, a huge amount of information was collected, but scientists still do not know much. Now NASA is interested in exploring the lunar potential and using private sector investment to reach the goal faster.
The operation of robots will be an important step. They are needed not only to maintain the Martian colony, but also to create it. It is believed that NASA will first send robots to Mars to form a base camp that will fully function by the time the first humans arrive.
However, the technology must pass preliminary tests on another space object. The closest option with low gravity is the moon. The lunar environment is particularly useful for testing various types of landing systems, because the lack of atmosphere on the moon partially resembles the incredibly thin atmospheric layer on the Red Planet.
It turns out that NASA plans to use the moon as a test site before the main mission - the exploration of Mars. Let's see how things will progress with the project. If robots can build a colony before the arrival of astronauts, then the first colonists will be much easier to survive in the new conditions.