Scientists decide to deliver a comet to the moon

SwRI scientists have joined a team that reanalyzed and modeled the material released by a collision with the lunar crater 10 years ago. New discoveries suggest that comets are likely to have carried volatiles in the permanently shaded areas near the Moon’s South Pole. Credit: USGS

Scientists at the Southwest Institute have joined a team that reanalyzes and models data from lunar effects planned over a decade ago. The findings suggest that the volatiles present in the craters near the Moon’s South Pole are likely to have been carried by the comet. Volatiles are chemical elements and compounds that can be easily vaporized, in this case stabilized in ice lurking in this permanently shaded area.

The SwRI-led LAMP (Lyman-Alpha Mapping Project) equipment installed in NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) is rocketThe used upper tier of the Moon deliberately attacked the Moon’s Caveus Crater in 2009. The LRO and the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) were launched together to monitor and understand the origin and evolution of the plume of material released into the atmosphere in this planned experiment. Of crater volatile substances.

“New research shows that crater material is best explained by the transmission of cometary impacts, not volcanic origin,” said Dr. Kurt Retherford, Principal Investigator at SwRI. “Excluding volcanic sources could mean that the regolith in the upper 3 meters of the Caveus crater is younger than previously thought, perhaps less than a billion years old.”

LCROSS and LRO were designed to be the pioneers of NASA’s return to the Moon. Future Artemis missions will return to the moon using innovative technology, Moon surface And, in collaboration with commercial and international partners, we will eventually establish our first long-term presence in Antarctica on the Moon.

“As humans prepare to return to the Moon, there is an unprecedented opportunity to make measurements with Caveus and other PSRs to characterize the elemental and isotopic composition of the Moon’s volatiles as a function of depth. “Dr. Kathleen Mandt of Johns Hopkins University said. Applied Physics Laboratory. Mandt Nature Communications About this study. “Study of these potential lunar resources not only supports extended human exploration, but also helps us understand the history of the Earth and Moon system.”

For more than a decade, LAMP has searched for ice and frost on the surface of the polar regions, producing images of permanently shadowed areas illuminated solely by starlight and the brilliance of interplanetary hydrogen emission known as Lyman-alpha line. I have provided it. LAMP data helped to characterize lunar water and other molecules.

“Water is considered an important resource because the decomposition of water molecules produces oxygen and hydrogen, which are important components of breathable air and rocket fuel,” says Retherford. “The remaining volatiles can also be important resources.”

The most likely causes of the volatiles investigated were volcanic outgassing, comet or micrometeoroid collisions, or surface chemistry initiated by solar wind particles. In this study, the team investigated what was revealed about the plume of the material as measured by LCROSS and LAMP and the composition of the volatiles in the regolith. Many factors, such as temperature, depth, sublimation and recondensation cycles, influence how these volatiles integrate into the surface ice. To simplify the analysis and eliminate as many effects as possible, the team compared the elemental composition of volatiles with the elemental composition of potential sources and four carbon-related elements (hydrogen, nitrogen,). The abundance of oxygen and sulfur) was evaluated.

“Based on the measured proportions and the composition of the comet (such as the Rosetta spacecraft measurement of Comet 67P), the comet is likely to be the main source of these volatiles,” said the University of Texas at San Antonio. A recent graduate, Dr. Rize Smagagna, said. SwRI PhD in Physics and Astronomy Program recently joined JHUAPL. “Impact gardening is a term that refers to the impact of stirring and enriching the top regoliths of satellites and other airless objects, and is probably the next most important for seeding volatiles in the Caveus crater. Contributors. The volatility sources from this study are of great help. “

LAMP collaborator Mandt was a UTSA graduate and SwRI researcher before joining JHUAPL in 2017.

LCROSS was launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida on June 18, 2009 with an LRO onboard an Atlas V rocket, using the Centaur upper rocket to create a debris plume. LCROSS is managed by Ames and built by Northrop Grumman in Redondo Beach, California. LRO is built and managed by Goddard.

Studies show the spectroscopic lunar composition mapping function

For more information:
KE Mandt et al, extrinsic origin of volatiles sampled by the effects of lunar crater observations and sensing satellites, Nature Communications (2022). DOI: 10.1038 / s41467-022-28289-6

Quote: Scientists from https: // to the month (February 9, 2022) obtained on February 9, 2022. Determine the delivery of the comet

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Scientists decide to deliver a comet to the moon

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