Europlanet Science Congress 2020
Virtual meeting
21 September – 9 October 2020
Europlanet Science Congress 2020
Virtual meeting
21 September – 9 October 2020
EPSC Abstracts
Vol. 14, EPSC2020-60, 2020, updated on 17 May 2022
Europlanet Science Congress 2020
© Author(s) 2022. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

The Lunar Environment Monitoring Station (LEMS)

Mehdi Benna1,2, Nicholas Schmerr3, Menelaos Sarantos1, Hop Bailey4, Daniel Gershman1, Mihaly Horanyi5, Xiaoli Sun1, and Jamey Szalay6
Mehdi Benna et al.
  • 1NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, USA (
  • 2Center for Space Sciences and Technology, University of Maryland Baltimore County, Baltimore, MD, USA
  • 3Department of Geology, University of Maryland College Park, College Park, MD, USA
  • 4Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, USA
  • 5Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO, USA
  • 6Department of Astrophysical Sciences, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, USA

The Lunar Environment Monitoring Station (LEMS) is an instrument concept funded by NASA’s Development of Advanced Lunar Instrumentation (DALI) Program, and undergoing maturation at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. LEMS has been proposed to the NASA's recent call for Payloads and Research Investigations on the Surface of the Moon (PRISM).

LEMS is a compact, autonomous, self-sustaining and long-lasting instrument suite that enables in situ, continuous, long-term monitoring of the lunar exosphere and of the most relevant natural and manmade controlling processes (infall of interplanetary dust particles (IDP), influx of solar wind and magnetospheric particles, EUV irradiation, interior outgassing, disturbances by landers and human surface activities). LEMS can be delivered to the surface of the Moon by crewed or robotic missions. Once deployed (on a deck or directly on the surface), LEMS will operate day and night for a nominal duration of 2 years without requiring any additional support or resources from the carrying asset.

LEMS integrates a Mass Spectrometer, a Laser Retro-reflector Array, a Lunar Micrometeoroid Monitor, a Lunar Energetic Ion Analyzer, and a 3-axis Seismometer. These sensors will collect concurrent observations that will lead to a comprehensive, time-resolved, and geographically-localized characterization of the composition and dynamics of volatiles gases in the lunar exosphere as a response to variations in solar forcing, IDP flux, seismicity, and known manmade events. Furthermore, owing to its expected longevity, LEMS will also improve upon the success of the Apollo Passive Seismic Experiment (PSE) by providing a new generation of seismological measurements that will address unanswered questions by the PSEs. These questions include the size and state of the lunar core, homogeneity of the mantle, variation in crustal thickness, the mechanism for deep moonquakes, and the relationship between shallow seismicity and the current tectonic state of the lunar crust.

With its complementary and integrated multi-sensors and its autonomous concept of operation, LEMS is a science-enabling investigation that combines capabilities, in a single duplicable instrument package. The duplicative nature of the LEMS design enables a network of stations that focuses on exospheric and geophysical measurements at the Moon to become viable options. Finally, the self-sustaining architecture of LEMS provides a model design of future payloads that can take advantage of more commercial or scientific flight opportunities to the Moon while requiring no further support for operation from their carrying assets.

How to cite: Benna, M., Schmerr, N., Sarantos, M., Bailey, H., Gershman, D., Horanyi, M., Sun, X., and Szalay, J.: The Lunar Environment Monitoring Station (LEMS), Europlanet Science Congress 2020, online, 21 Sep–9 Oct 2020, EPSC2020-60,, 2020.