The ultimate goal of this research work is to build and demonstrate a space-borne spectrometer system that can perform both gamma and neutron spectroscopy. The parameters of the spectrometer system (including electronics) will be designed to meet the criteria necessary for the intended application of planetary exploration. This technology is relevant to missions equipped with -robot-based in-situ measurement systems, such as Europa Jupiter System Mission (EJSM), Titan Saturn System Mission (TSSM) and any post-2020 Mars-lander, where low payload (no more than 1 kg) is mandatory. This technology is also very beneficial to any mission where the study of radiation environment is important to the -human side, -such as MARS 2020. LunaH-MAP and similar missions will also be able to leverage such SBIR/STTR technology to develop a low cost instrument to find water on planetary bodies.
Commercial applications include elemental analysis, explosive detection, medical diagnostics, x-ray imaging, seismic activity detection, and radiation monitoring. The detection and identification of radionuclides from atmospheric nuclear tests has obvious military applications such as detection of nuclear non-proliferation, treaty verification, and nuclear materials control. Another application for which this technology can be useful is that of commercial space development, particularly asteroid mining. A gamma/neutron spectrometer would be very well suited for the detection of possible valuable material in these objects. New legislation has even included a provision that gives individuals or companies ownership in any material that they -mine- from these objects. This could open up a new market for these spectrometers within the global radiation detector market.