The Multi Object Optical and Near-infrared Spectrograph (MOONS) instrument is the next generation multi-object spectrograph for the VLT. This powerful instrument will combine for the first time: the large collecting power of the VLT with a high multipexing capability offered by 1000 optical fibres moved with individual robotic positioners and a novel, very fast spectrograph able to provide both low- and high-resolution spectroscopy simultaneously across the wavelength range 0.64μm - 1.8μm. Such a facility will provide the astronomical community with a powerful, world-leading instrument able to serve a wide range of Galactic, Extragalactic and Cosmological studies. Th final assembly, integration and verification phase of the instrument is now about to start performance testing.
After completion of its final-design review last year, it is full steam ahead for the construction of the MOONS instrument - the next generation multi-object spectrograph for the VLT. This remarkable instrument will combine for the first time: the 8 m collecting power of the VLT, 1000 optical fibres with individual robotic positioners and both medium- and high-resolution spectral coverage acreoss the wavelength range 0.65μm - 1.8 μm. Such a facility will allow a veritable host of Galactic, Extragalactic and Cosmological questions to be addressed. In this paper we will report on the current status of the instrument, details of the early testing of key components and the major milestones towards its delivery to the telescope.