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Center Independent Research & Development: GSFC IRAD

Ultra Low Frequency Sensor for Lunar Subsurface Characterization: Discovering ISRU Volatiles (ULFS)

Completed Technology Project
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Project Description

Ultra Low Frequency Sensor

The goal of this project is to develop an ultra-low radio frequency (1 Hz-20 KHz) sensor and data processing techniques for planetary surface and subsurface dielectric spectroscopy.  The hardware systems and data processing techniques will establish a baseline option of ultra-low RF spectroscopic instruments for integration into future planetary science missions for Moon and Mars in the near term as well as the moons of other planets in the far term.

All materials including geological minerals have a complex index of refraction: complex electric permittivity and complex magnetic permeability.  When excited with electromagnetic waves, all materials interacts with electromagnetic energy through either a relaxation or resonance process.  Through these processes, electromagnetic energy is absorbed in minerals. These absorption processes and their wavelength dependence allows for the derivation of information about the chemistry of a mineral from reflected or emitted electromagnetic energy.

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