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.More »
Before establishing a human outpost on the lunar surface via ARTEMIS (SPD-1), NASA requires assessment of ISRU resources for human exploration utilization. Resupplying such essential resources [water, oxygen] from the Earth will be very expensive in terms of “up-mass”. To address this issue, NASA is planning a series of in situ robotic investigations (VIPER, CLPS-payloads) for detecting, and identifying key in situ resources buried under the lunar surface (e.g., : https://www.herox.com/NASApayload/teams ). The development of the proposed ULF sensor concept will directly apply to definitive detection of water ice in the lunar subsurface. The proposed ULF sensor concept can be reconfigurable to be implemented in various robotic or human-relevant surface systems (CLPS landers, rovers, hoppers, or ARTEMIS HLS lander legs). As these platforms offer some sort of mobility across the lunar surface, the proposed ULF sensor system will enable definitive identification of ISRU-relevant resources buried to depths of several meters, as well as their electrical and geotechnical properties including bulk porosity, all without physical interactions such as drilling. NASA’s ARTEMIS (Moon to Mars) program will provide adequate near-term funding for maturing and subsequent flight opportunities for the proposed ULF sensor. Beyond VIPER and commercial ISRU landers/rovers, the conceptual ULF sensor could be safely and readily integrated into crew-based systems as well (HLS).More »
|Organizations Performing Work
|Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC)