The use of in-situ resources in lunar regolith for production of propellant, life support, and construction (e.g. polar water ice, hydrogen, helium-3, and regolith minerals) will enable sustainable robotic and human space exploration and pave the way for commercialization of lunar exploration. Currently, the search for and characterization of resources on the Moon uses orbital datasets and local geological and geophysical surveys to map and characterize potential deposits. To develop efficient ISRU systems, it is essential to find, characterize, and map lunar resources in-situ, at local scales, using deployable, analytical payloads. We have developed a 3 kg, TRL4 scientific payload, MoonSHOT (Moon Subsurface Hydrogen Optical Tool), to characterize and map lunar resources from a small lander or rover.
MoonSHOT is a next-generation ultra-compact laser spectroscopy system equipped with a fiber optic sensing probe that enables in-situ geochemical and mineralogical analysis and mapping of Moon surface and shallow-subsurface samples in a remote location without having to extract a sample and bring it to a spectrometer.
MoonSHOT's core unit, hosted inside the spacecraft, contains laser, spectrometer, and electronic modules. The core unit connects to a shielded fiber-optic umbilical and a reusable, gimbaled electro-mechanical spool. The fiber is terminated in a miniature optical probe that is inserted from either a lander or rover into the lunar regolith via a penetrator. Operationally, the concept of operation of MoonSHOT is to 1) aim and release/shoot the fiber-tethered penetrator into regolith up to 20 m away from the landed craft and down to 5 cm (these are baseline requirements and can be modified); 2) illuminate a sample to induce Raman scattering and LIBS; 3) collect and relay this light to the spectrometer, where spectral intensity and distribution are measured, recorded, and analyzed in real time to generate science measurements; and 4) reel in/recover the probe. Using this architecture, MoonSHOT can be repeatedly deployed and retrieved from a fixed lander or mobile rover
Concept design for Honeybee Robotics and Impossible Sensing.
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REDEPLOYABLE SENSOR PROBE FOR IN-SITU LUNAR RESOURCE MAPPING FROM SMALL LANDERS by P. Sobron, M. Fahey, M. Krainak, A. Misra, F. Rehnmark, A. Wang, A. Yu, K. Zacny, R. Zeigler.