Europlanet Science Congress 2021
Virtual meeting
13 – 24 September 2021
Europlanet Science Congress 2021
Virtual meeting
13 September – 24 September 2021
Future instruments and sustainable outposts for deep space, Moon and Mars


Future instruments and sustainable outposts for deep space, Moon and Mars
Convener: Bernard Foing | Co-conveners: Marc Heemskerk, Sabrina Kerber, Agata Kolodziejczyk, Tai Sik Lee, Michaela Musilova, Roxana Perrier, Henk Rogers, Carol Stoker
Thu, 23 Sep, 10:40–11:25 (CEST)

Session assets

Discussion on Slack

Oral and Poster presentations and abstracts

Chairperson: Bernard Foing
James W. Head and David R Scott

A fundamental goal of international human and robotic space exploration is to establish human outposts and bases on the Moon and Mars.  We seek to provide a planetary science perspective on lessons learned from the Apollo Lunar Exploration Program.

1) Why?: What is the legacy, the long-term impact of our efforts? Apollo revealed the Earth as a planet, showed the inextricable links of the Earth-Moon system, and made the Solar System our neighborhood. We now ask: What are our origins and where are we heading?: We seek to understand the origin and evolution of the Moon, the Moon’s links to the earliest Earth history, and its lessons for exploration and understanding of Mars. These perspectives impel us to learn the lessons of off-Earth, long-term, long-distance resupply and self-sustaining presence, in order to prepare for the exploration of Mars.

2) Where?: The combination of Transformative Lunar Science (TLS) questions [1] and exploration operational requirements compel us to explore the South Polar Region (SPR) of the Moon. The scientific goals are clear: 1) What is the origin, nature and abundance of polar volatile deposits and what do they tell us about internal/external sources and volatile history? [2-3] 2) What is the nature/composition/age of the South Pole-Aitken basin, and how does this inform us about lunar interior/chronology/bombardment history, and early Solar System dynamics? [4-5] The scientific objectives are: 1) explore, document/sample volatile deposits in permanently shadowed and stratigraphically related regions. 2) explore/document/sample/date SPA ejecta/pre-SPA crustal materials.  Exploration operational goals/objectives are clear: 1) Define regions that optimize realization of scientific goals/objectives. 2) Define regions of continuous/near-continuous solar illumination to provide power to survive lunar night, establish long-term presence. 3) Explore SPR to establish the nature/abundance/mode of occurrence/“grade” of candidate volatile deposits. 4) Characterize surface physical properties/trafficability in order to optimize scientific/operational activities. 5) Prepare for dedicated human/robotic exploration missions to other parts of the Moon and Mars. 6) Test nascent technologies required for sustained human Moon/Mars presence (habitation/energy storage/radiation protection/ISRU).

3) How?: Necessary is the development of a conceptual/operational framework built on a firm foundation of existing knowledge and data, and inclusion/optimization of new ideas/technologies. This permits us to continue the exploration to the next logical stages following the remarkably successful Apollo Lunar Exploration Program and multiple followon orbital/surface robotic missions. What are foundation pillars? a) Science and Engineering Synergism (SES): Apollo was successful because of the shoulder-to-shoulder engineer-scientist work culture that developed, and enabled longer-duration stay times and EVAs, significant mobility, additional equipment and experiments, and significantly greater sample return. SES requires concentrated/dedicated effort, but the rewards are clear, essential and synergistic.  SES maps out into operations at all levels of mission planning and execution. b) Human-Robotic Partnerships: Exploration is not a technique contest, but a partnership. The US sent 21 robotic missions prior to Apollo 11. The key to continual success lies in developing an architecture that complements and optimizes robotic and human capabilities.  c) Exploration Guidelines: Define human and robotic strengths and weaknesses, and optimize exploration plans. Longer-term stays mean both increased interactions with Earth and exploration independence of the Astronauts. Avoid “creeping determinism” [6], and encourage the Apollo T3 approach (Train ‘em/Trust ‘em/Turn ‘em loose). Science and operational goals and objectives require exploration of broad areas: build in extensive Apollo LRV-like mobility. New remote-sensing technologies will enable more in situ characterization, sample analysis and selection but Earth laboratory technology advances will always outpace in situ analysis. Build in significant sample return mass from the beginning. d) Exploration Architectures: Individual missions are viewed as integrated elements in an operational strategy/architecture that is designed to accomplish the overarching goals. Candidate elements: I) Precursor (What do we need to know before we send humans?). II) Context (What are robotic mission requirements for final landing site selection/regional context for results?). III) Infrastructure/Operations (What specific robotic capabilities are required to optimize human scientific exploration performance?). IV) Interpolation (How do we use robotic missions to interpolate between human traverses?). V) Extrapolation (How do we use robotic missions to extrapolate beyond the human exploration radius?). VI) Progeny (What targeted robotic successor missions might be sent to the region to follow up on discoveries during exploration and from post-campaign analysis?). The NASA Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) Program complements the Artemis Program in this manner. e) Flexibility and Adaptability: Science is the exploration of the unknown.

Site Selection/Traverse Planning Guidelines: Landing site selection always involves a balance of mission goals and objectives, and landing/operation safety/success. Science and Engineering Synergism (SES) is the key to this success as demonstrated during Apollo, and should be implemented throughout the exploration architecture. The same principles apply to traverse planning. SES ensures that science/engineering data needed for key decisions will be available and optimizes decisions. SES also optimizes the long-term goal of lunar base siting: for example, Mons Malapert, an inviting target for base siting due to favorable illumination/power, is difficult to traverse with Lunokhod and Apollo LRV-type vehicles [7].

Surface Operations: New instrumentation and technologies will significantly enhance exploration planning and accomplishment of goals. A multispectral laser reflectometer on the surface can confirm the presence of water ice and its location and distribution on scales relevant to human operations (cm to m), and be used to direct sampling and ISRU efforts undertaken by Artemis astronauts, a capability [9] highly complementary to orbital approaches. The parallel operations of robotic rovers, CLPS payload deliveries, and human activities will require continuous engineering and science operations/analysis centers on Earth. Lessons from the ISS should be incorporated, while also recognizing the human exploration capabilities of the Astronauts on the Moon [6]. 

References: 1. Pieters et al. (2018)*; 2. Zuber et al (2012) Nature 486, 378; 3. Li et al. (2019) PNAS 115, 8907; 4. Moriarty & Pieters (2018) JGR 123, 729; 5. Ivanov et al. (2018) PSS 162, 190; 6. Krikalev et al. (2010) Acta Astro. 66, 70; 7. Mazarico et al., 2020, LSSW; 8. Baslievsky et al. (2019) SSR 53, 383; 9. Cremons et al. (2020) LSSW. *

How to cite: Head, J. W. and Scott, D. R.: Future instruments and sustainable outposts for deep space, Moon and Mars: Highlights and lessons from geologists supporting Apollo astronauts, Europlanet Science Congress 2021, online, 13–24 Sep 2021, EPSC2021-849,, 2021.

Sanjay Vijendran, Juergen Schlutz, Alexander Gerst, Eric Istasse, Stefaan De Mey, and Didier Schmitt

ESA’s Exploration Programme, recently renamed “Terrae Novae”, encompasses all ESA’s human and robotic activities related to the exploration and utilisation of Earth Orbit, Moon and Mars.  Its vision is to expand Europe’s human presence into the solar system using robotic missions as precursors, with the horizon goal of human Mars exploration; and to do this for science, economic benefits, to promote global cooperation and for inspiration[1].  In autumn 2020, ESA initiated a two-year long project to define the Terrae Novae long-term strategy, looking to 2030 and beyond. This abstract provides an introduction to the objectives of the project and summarises the progress and results to date.


It is the ultimate goal of the strategy work to provide a lighthouse, to enable a steady orientation and long-term navigation of Europe’s decision makers on their voyage beyond the current horizons. The strategy work does not revisit the fundamental goals of ESA’s exploration programme as stated above;  instead, it is preparing the next decisions in implementation that will have to be taken by ESA Member States at the at the ESA Council meeting at ministerial level in 2022 (CM22). Decisions will be required to maintain long term European capabilities (e.g. in Low Earth Orbit (LEO)) and to prepare the next steps (e.g. for lunar surface exploration and preparations to enable humans to Mars). ESA is already anticipating a significant increase in it's request for Exploration Programme funding at CM22.


The Agenda 2025 of the new ESA Director General addresses challenges and objectives for ESA in the next four years, with an outlook to 2035[2]. Being ambitious is the keyword in this Agenda, in order to position a transformed ESA in an ever more world-wide competitive arena, by “making space for Europe”.

In a fast evolving international context, the challenging task of the strategy project is to position Europe to realise its exploration ambition in two dimensions.

The presentation will include a status on the strategy development work including the initial results that show options for an integrated exploration roadmap for Europe to 2040. Stakeholder consultation (Member States, Industry, Science Community etc) will continue throughout 2021 into 2022 with refinements of the strategy expected until finalisation and approval by ESA Member States around mid 2022.


[2]Agenda 2025 of the ESA Director General (




How to cite: Vijendran, S., Schlutz, J., Gerst, A., Istasse, E., De Mey, S., and Schmitt, D.: ESA Terrae Novae Exploration Strategy 2040, Europlanet Science Congress 2021, online, 13–24 Sep 2021, EPSC2021-798,, 2021.

Vidvuds Beldavs

In this paper I will present scenarios of lunar industrial development to 2050 and corresponding development of markets for lunar resources in Earth orbits, cislunar space, the lunar surface, as well as the likely emergence of industrial development in Mars orbits based on use of lunar resources. I will also examine actions needed in the 2021-2030 timeframe to make this possible.

Given that targets for launch to LEO from Earth in the range of $100 to $200/ kg. can be achieved before 2040 the Moon can emerge as the low-cost source of materials for industrial and commercial development in the Earth-Moon system and beyond.  Key assumptions that I will examined include the following:

  • Structures in Earth orbits and cislunar space will be assembled in orbit from components manufactured in space.
  • Space tourism with large-scale space resorts in low Earth orbits will give way to space settlements housing thousands and more as mortgage financing is developed to finance their development.
  • The Moon will emerge as the low-cost site for materials for space manufacturing. Many important materials are on or near the surface and there is high probability of concentrations of high value materials being discovered in accessible locations including potentially the Aitken Basin anomaly [1}. , and the vacuum and fractional gravity of the Moon promises launch costs from the Moon to Earth orbits that are a fraction of launch from Earth.
  • Lunar materials are likely to emerge as a primary source for industrial and commercial developments in Mars orbits. The delta-v of shipment to Mars orbit from the lunar surface is less than launch from Mars [1]. Industrial development in Mars orbit using lunar materials can lower costs and improve effectiveness of operations on Mars.
  • It will become increasingly urgent to limit launch of spacecraft to LEO from Earth as congestion from satellite mega constellations increases and suborbital intercontinental transportation takes off following the model proposed by Elon Musk.
  • Climate change is a threat to all countries and urgent action is called for to limit or eliminate large scale resource extraction on Earth, as well as to limit launches through the atmosphere. This factor will speed lunar industrial development and potentially open opportunities for some lunar derived materials to compete in terrestrial markets.
  • A rules-based order agreed to by all states involved in outer space development will emerge by 2030. Billionaires can speed up development but international cooperation and agreement on governance policies is necessary to assure self-sustaining lunar industrial development.


[1] An excellent overview of lunar materials that also includes discussion of processing options is Ian A. Crawford, “Lunar resources: A review”, Progress in Physical Geography, 2015, Vol. 39(2) 137–167, retrieved from . Pg. 149 summarizes findings on the Aitken Basin anomaly suggesting that a large metallic asteroid approximately 110 meters across may be buried there. The Psyche 16 metallic asteroid that has drawn media attention is 200 meters - 16 Psyche - Wikipedia



How to cite: Beldavs, V.: Development of the Moon-Earth economy – 2030-2050, Europlanet Science Congress 2021, online, 13–24 Sep 2021, EPSC2021-785,, 2021.

Michelle Lavagna, Jacopo Prinetto, Andrea Colagrossi, Ivan Troisi, Alice dottori, and Paolo lunghi

Space exploration is going to play a relevant role within the just started decade, with the Moon at its centre. Many activities are on going to enhance science of\on and from the Moon and to develop the fundamental technology to accomplish the challenging objectives the foreseen missions to our satellite need. Among those the capability to detect, extract and manipulate the in situ resources is central for humans back on the surface and more. Politecnico di Milano, thanks to the activities started under the cap of an ESA study, developed in consortium with OHB-I and OHB-S, implemented a laboratory plant and run experiments to assess and tune the carbothermal reduction process on NU-LHT 2M in extracting oxygen from feedstock oxides. The experiments were successful and water has been produced, as expected.
To accurately understand the process and address the technology for a flight test the numerical modelling of the whole process steps has been settled and a comprehensive characterisation of the feedstock simulant was performed as well. Results are presented and critically discussed.

The paper will go through the simulant characterisation approach and results, the process description and modelling, the lab plant description and the experimental test campaign results, obtained with the implemented plant.

How to cite: Lavagna, M., Prinetto, J., Colagrossi, A., Troisi, I., dottori, A., and lunghi, P.: Water production from lunar regolith through carbothermal reduction modelling through ground experiments, Europlanet Science Congress 2021, online, 13–24 Sep 2021, EPSC2021-527,, 2021.

Sejal Budholiya, Vigneshwaran Krishnamoorthy, Aayush Bhat, Thirukumaran Venugobal, Kannan Lalgudi Subramanian, Santhanam Lakshmi Narayan, Saravana Prashanth Murali Babu, Vijayan Sivaprahasam, Anil Bhardwaj, Jaya Krishna Meka, and Bhalamurugan Sivaraman

If we are going to colonize the moon, then we must be in a position to build stable structures on-site and manufacture needed items with the resources that are available on the lunar surface/subsurface. Currently, we are limited by the amounts of lunar soil to research and explore the necessary technologies prior to colonization. Therefore, we need to look at the best analogues available as lunar simulants. Perhaps, such efforts have been made in the past [1] and recently new lunar simulants are also being produced in the laboratory [2]. Indeed, our understanding of building structures by 3D printing using lunar simulants is limited so far, and much more needs to be explored.


Sittampundi anorthosite complex in South India is reported to be the most appropriate lunar simulant [3] and has been used in bio-cementation studies [4]. We collected more than 100 kg of the anorthosite rock samples from Sittampundi as raw material. After grinding the sand corresponded to IS383 zone II (medium sand) with Fineness Modulus 3.16 and fine aggregate 5 mm down. For initial studies, the raw material composite was prepared with water, cement, class-F ultra fine fly ash, superplasticizer, viscosity modifier, and polypropylene microfiber were then added to the anorthosite sample in varying proportions.


The slurry obtained by mixing the seven ingredients including the lunar simulant was then poured into an empty plastic canister. The slurry was manually pressed to extrude layer by layer to produce a 240 mm dia, 40 mm wide, and 31 mm thick structure from four layers. After 14 days of curing and drying process at nominal atmospheric conditions, the strength of the layered 3D printed structure was found to be 39 N mm-2. In this session, we will present more details of the slurry preparation including the proportions of the ingredients used, the 3D printing technique employed, and its implications for future lunar exploration/colonization.

Figure 1: [a] The anorthosite sample before grinding and [b] and [c] the first layer and after three layers of the 3D printed structure, respectively, and [d] printed structure (240 mm dia, 40 mm wide and 31 mm thick) after 14 days. 



[1]Hargraves, R.B. and Buddington, A.F., 1970. “Analogy between anorthosite series on the Earth and Moon”. Icarus, 13(3), pp.371-382.

[2]Jäggi, N., Galli, A., Wurz, P., Biber, H., Szabo, P.S., Brötzner, J., Aumayr, F., Tollan, P.M.E. and Mezger, K., 2021. “Creation of Lunar and Hermean analogue mineral powder samples for solar wind irradiation experiments and mid-infrared spectra analysis”. Icarus, p.114492.

[3] Venugopal, I., Muthukkumaran, K., Sriram, K.V., Anbazhagan, S., Prabu, T., Arivazhagan, S. and Shukla, S.K., 2020. “Invention of Indian Moon Soil (Lunar Highland Soil Simulant) for Chandrayaan Missions”. International Journal of Geosynthetics and Ground Engineering, 6(4), pp.1-9.

[4] Dikshit, R., Dey, A., Gupta, N., Varma, S.C., Venugopal, I., Viswanathan, K. and Kumar, A., 2021. “Space bricks: From LSS to machinable structures via MICP”. Ceramics International, 47(10), pp.14892-14898. 

How to cite: Budholiya, S., Krishnamoorthy, V., Bhat, A., Venugobal, T., Subramanian, K. L., Narayan, S. L., Babu, S. P. M., Sivaprahasam, V., Bhardwaj, A., Meka, J. K., and Sivaraman, B.: 3D printing the Sittampundi anorthosite - Indian lunar soil simulant, Europlanet Science Congress 2021, online, 13–24 Sep 2021, EPSC2021-535,, 2021.

James Abshire, Scott Guzewich, Daniel Cremons, Michael Smith, Kenji Numata, and Xiaoli Sun

The planetary boundary layer (PBL) is the lowest layer of the atmosphere that interacts directly with the surface. For Mars and Titan, processes within the PBL are very important scientifically because they control the transfer of heat, momentum, dust, water, and other constituents between surface and atmospheric reservoirs. For Mars understanding these processes is critical for understanding the modern climate, including the stability and development of the polar caps how the regolith exchanges with the atmosphere how wind shapes the landscape how dust is lifted and transported and for being able to validate and improve general circulation models (GCMs). The PBL is also critical for operations since it is the environment in which landed missions must operate.

On Mars the PBL depth varies between roughly 1 and 10 km, depending on time of day, with the deepest layer occurring during the day when convective turbulence is greatest. The PBL is difficult to observe from orbit, and so detailed observations of it have been mostly limited to those just at the surface from landers. The lack of PBL observations has led to significant gaps of understanding in several key areas. These include diurnal variations of aerosols, water vapor and direct measurements of wind velocity, the combination of which provides information on the horizontal and vertical transport of water, dust, and other trace species and their exchange with the surface. The Mars atmosphere has complex interactions between its dust, water and CO2 cycles. Because these quantities are interrelated and they partially drive the wind fields, it is important to measure the water vapor, aerosols, and winds simultaneously, ideally using a single instrument.

We are developing and plan to demonstrate a breadboard of small, highly capable atmospheric lidar to address these needs for a future lander on Mars or Titan. The lidar is designed to measure vertically-resolved profiles of water vapor by using a single frequency laser. The laser will be tuned onto and off strong isolated water vapor lines near 1911 nm. The vertical distribution of water vapor will be determined from the on- and off-line backscatter profiles via the differential absorption lidar (DIAL) technique. The same laser is used for measuring aerosol and wind profiles via the Doppler shift in the backscatter. The laser beam is linearly polarized and a cross polarized receiver allows separating the backscatter of water ice from dust.  It emits two beams that are offset 30 deg from zenith and perpendicular to one another in azimuth, allowing directional wind profiles to be resolved. Both lidar measurement channels are otherwise identical and use common lens-type receiver telescopes.

These lidar measurements address important science needs that are traceable to Mars Exploration Program Analysis Group (MEPAG) science goals relating to climate, surface-atmosphere interactions, and preparing for human exploration.  Our lidar will measure vertical profiles of water vapor, and dust and water ice aerosols and winds with km-scale vertical resolution from the surface to > 15 km altitude.  These measurements will directly profile the full planetary boundary layer, which is key for understanding how water, dust, CO2 and trace species exchange between surface and atmosphere.  The lidar will provide observations of all quantities simultaneously. 

Only one atmospheric lidar has been previously flown on a planetary lander. The lidar on the Phoenix Mars lander mission (Komguem et al., 2013) successfully measured aerosol backscatter profiles at 1064 nm and 532 nm as a function of altitude and time (Whiteway, et al., 2008). The lidar also measured cloud and ice scattering profiles and measured falling ice over the Phoenix Lander site (Whiteway, 2009).

Our lidar approach is designed to provide several important new capabilities. It will measure, for the first time, water vapor profiles from 100 m to 15 km, along with wind and aerosol profiles at 1911 nm. Our approach utilizes a highly sensitive HgCdTe avalanche photodiode detector as a key component of the lidar receiver. During the next 2 years of this project, our plan is to develop the remaining lidar components from TRL 2 to 4, and to use the breadboard lidar to demonstrate profile measurements of aerosols, water vapor and wind from the Mauna Kea Hawaii astronomy site

Acknowledgement: This work is supported by an award from the 2019 NASA PICASSO program.

How to cite: Abshire, J., Guzewich, S., Cremons, D., Smith, M., Numata, K., and Sun, X.: Small Lidar for Profiling Water Vapor, Aerosols and Winds from Planetary Landers, Europlanet Science Congress 2021, online, 13–24 Sep 2021, EPSC2021-136,, 2021.

Dora Klindžić, Daphne Stam, Frans Snik, Christoph Keller, Vidhya Pallichadath, Chris van Dijk, Marco Esposito, and Dirk van Dam

LOUPE, the Lunar Observatory for Unresolved Polarimetry of the Earth, is a small, robust spectro-polarimeter for observing the Earth as if it were an exoplanet, designed to accompany any landing, roving or orbiting mission to the Moon. Detecting Earth-like planets in stellar habitable zones is one of the key challenges of modern exoplanetary science. Characterizing such planets and searching for traces of life requires the direct detection of their signals. LOUPE provides unique spectral flux and polarization data of sunlight reflected by Earth, the only planet known to harbour life. These data will be used to test numerical codes to predict signals of Earth-like exoplanets, to test algorithms that retrieve planet properties, and to fine-tune the design and observational strategies of future space observatories.

We present a novel spectropolarimetric instrument design: LOUPE, the Lunar Observatory for Unresolved Polarimetry of the Earth (Klindžić, 2020), which aims to observe the Earth from the Moon as if it were an exoplanet and perform spectropolarimetric measurements spanning the full range of phase angles. Various reasons make observing the Earth from the Moon or from a Lunar orbit, rather than a low Earth orbit, crucial to the experiment:

  • The Moon is sufficiently far away to allow a spatially unresolved view of the whole Earth.
  • For a lander on the Lunar surface, the Earth is always visible in a confined area in the sky.
  • From the Moon, the Earth can be observed at all phase angles during a month.
  • From the Moon, the Earth's daily rotation can be captured.

LOUPE’s science requirements include:

  • Perform near-instantaneous (snapshot) spectropolarimetry of the entire Earth.
  • Detect the presence of liquid water oceans and clouds.
  • Derive and monitor atmospheric properties, e.g. via Rayleigh scattering, for potential climate research applications.
  • Detect the O₂A band in flux and polarization and its variance with cloud cover, altitude and phase angle.
  • Detect the Chlorophyll Green Bump and Vegetation Red Edge, the spectroscopic signature of plant life.
  • Derive a map of continents from the disk-integrated signal and identify notable features, such as rainforests, deserts and ice caps.

LOUPE shall perform its science goals by recording and demodulating the disk-integrated Stokes vector of sunlight reflected from the Earth. The leading instrument design principle adopted for LOUPE is to create a compact, low-mass, low-volume, space-ready hyperspectropolarimeter with no moving parts. These constraints require creative solutions from the cutting edge of hyperspectral and polarimetric instrument design, where polarimeters traditionally used active rotating optics (temporal modulation) or beam-splitting (spatial modulation).

The latest LOUPE concept (Fig. 1.) utilizes Patterned Liquid Crystal (PLC) plates for encoding polarization information as a modulation orthogonal to the spectral flux measurement, enabling the linear-Stokes vector of a target to be recorded in one single “snapshot”, as shown in Fig. 2. Unlike a traditional rotating-retarder polarimeter, polarization is modulated in the cross-spectral direction, meaning polarimetry can be performed at full spectral resolution, which is not possible in the case of channeled spectropolarimetry with spectral modulation. This pioneering use of Patterned Liquid Crystals makes it possible to forgo the use of moving elements, resulting in a compact, space-ready instrument with versatile options of installation on a range of landing, roving and orbiting missions.

Here we discuss our detailed design process and the challenges involved in creating a unique space-qualified spectropolarimeter with no moving parts, whilst maintaining flexibility for different usage scenarios: rovers, landers, orbiters, and more. We present a performance trade-off, optical design informed by ray tracing with polarization effects, and the development of methods for spectral and polarimetric demodulation of simulated Earth observation data.

Figure 1: Tentative design of LOUPE.


Figure 2: Simulated LOUPE measurement. Wavelength filtering is applied in the y-direction, and polarization modulation in the x-direction. Each dot represents an unresolved image of the Earth.

How to cite: Klindžić, D., Stam, D., Snik, F., Keller, C., Pallichadath, V., van Dijk, C., Esposito, M., and van Dam, D.: LOUPE: Observing the Earth from the Moon to prepare for detecting life on Earth-like exoplanets, Europlanet Science Congress 2021, online, 13–24 Sep 2021, EPSC2021-657,, 2021.

John Hamilton

BASALT (Biologic Analog Science Associated with Lava Terrains: ConOps Development for Future Human Exploration of Mars) was a 5-year NASA funded (PSTARS) analog mission study that sought to develop the requirements, protocols and associated technologies for human missions on Mars with the attendant Earth based support challenges (variable time-delay and bandwidth limitations) while maximizing the science return.

            BASALT was a  large (~50) team comprised of scientists (geologists, chemists, astronomers and biologists) with NASA astronauts, engineers, IT specialists and Human Factors. Its goal was to plan and operated a complete end-to-end human exploration mission on the Martian surface with simulation astronauts in a realistic high-fidelity science field environment.  This would occur with a communications infrastructure having a Mars base (real-time) and an Earth-based science backroom (with time-delays).  Concepts of operations, traverse planning, science sample site identification, “real-time” sample assessment from field instruments and concensus scientist evaluations, common sample collection protocols suitable for geology, geochemistry and astrobiology, along with time management and software tools to operate and document all aspects during the traverses.

            Field deployments of several weeks each were accomplished at the Craters of the Moon National Monument in Idaho (1) and at Hawaii Volcanos National Park in Hawaii (2).  A command center was created to house the Earth science team as well as a sequested Mars base.  Voice and telemetry communications were established to allow real-time (safety) and mission-time (delays) with several simulation astronauts in the field executing prospecting traverses.  Support personnel and situation awareness video accompanied the sim-astronauts.

How to cite: Hamilton, J.: BASALT – A Science-Based Mars Con-Ops Astronaut Field Simulation", Europlanet Science Congress 2021, online, 13–24 Sep 2021, EPSC2021-868,, 2021.

Charlotte Pouwels, Sue Fairburn, Bailee van Rikxoort, Marie-Pierre Alary, Marc Heemskerk, Sabrina Kerber, and Bernard Foing and the CHILL-ICE ECHO Habitat Team

Introduction; In the summer of 2021, the analogue astronaut mission “CHILL-ICE” shall be carried out inside the Stefanshellir cave system. This short term 2-night mission has the objective to put up an inflatable habitat inside a Lunar-analogue Lava tube within 8 hours. This 8h requirement simulates the lifespan of the oxygen tank that astronauts would have, during an emergency Extra Vehicular Activity (EVA).

Requirements; For the CHILL-ICE mission, a habitat prototype has been developed by the Wilson School of Design, Kwantlen Polytechnic University Canada. The habitat, named acronymically ECHO (Extreme Cave Habitat One) needed to fulfil the following mission requirements:

  • 8H put up/ Take down
    • Essential for the astronauts to stay alive.
  • Portable for 2 persons to carry inside the selected lava tube
    • 38° slope / 11 m and max. weight 50 kg
  • Free standing
    • Fidelity for an analogous mission and no reliance on ground conditions.
  • Habitable for 3 persons [2]
    • Min. 8 m3 but preferred >21 m3
  • Re-deployable
    • Needs to be used for recurring phases of analogue missions.
  • Airlock
    • Fidelity in simulating the ingress/egress process and the design of the structure.
  • Water-resistant
    • Interior needs to stay dry. The caves on Earth can be subject to high humidity and cave rain.
  • Dimensional restrictions due to cave location.
    • 7.5 x 4.6 x 4.15 m

(Figure 1: Habitat material properties hierarchy.)

For this analogue mission and the construction of this habitat, the influence of gravity and space vacuum has been neglected. For the design of the habitat, all spaces shall require multiple functions to provide enough space for a sleeping, bathroom, working and experiment station. Furthermore, as the Stefanshellir cave system consist of a rocky basaltic terrain, the floor of the habitat needs to be able to withstand possible ruptures. The material priority hierarchy can be found in figure 1.

All materials selected for the habitat have been subjected, prior of usage, to testing to comply with the material hierarchy as mentioned in figure 1.

ECHO Habitat; The final result of the habitat can be seen in figure 2 and figure 3. The technical overview of the habitat features is given in table 1.

(Figure 2: The habitat ECHO (Extreme Cave Habitat One) in a deployed state with airlock.)

(Figure 3: Interior design of the ECHO habitat with Airlock door provided and mylar pillows for thermal insulation.)

Habitat features



30 kg


40 m3


4.0 x 3.5 x 2.1 m

Dim. Airlock

1.1 x 3.5 m

Max. persons


Fly material


Shell material

Tyvek (spun-bound polyethylene)


-        Cordura nylon

-        Mylar

-        Open Cell Polyurethane foam

Free standing


Portal for cabling


(Table 1: Overview of habitat features.)

The selected form of the habitat is a 'barrel vault' or 'Quonset' archetype. This shape aligns with the available space left in the selected spot inside the terrestrial lava tube. The structure of the habitat consists of four air members and two poles. This combination results in a redundancy in the event of air member failure and/or leakage. The skin is constructed of Tyvek (spun-bound polyethylene) building membrane material. This material is chosen upon its lightweight and economical benefits.

In addition, to protect ECHO and the analogue astronauts against any lightweight falling debris from the cave an external lightweight fly has been added to the shell. The floor is constructed of 3 layers and is removable. These layers will provide thermal insultation, some protection from the uneven/basalt cave floor and a durable surface for the range of activities.

As mentioned in table 1, the habitat offers accommodation for 3 crew members comfortably. Inside the airlock, 1 crew member can get changed in their EVA suits, provided by the Astroland Interplanetary Agency. When not in use, the EVA suits can be stored in the airlock. The airlock room has a multifunction as it is also the private bathroom area.

Lastly, there is a set of mylar pillows (see figure 2) that serve as thermal insulation and are reflective of light sources. These pillows are to be filled with air, secured and placed against the walls, as needed, to achieve and retain thermal comfort. To hold the pillows in place, a set of diagonally placed elastics are used. In addition, these elastics can also hold deployed sleeping mattresses during the day. For storing lightweight items, a set of pockets that run lengthwise in the main volume of the habitat are made.


First, we would like to thank the FULLAIR and ECHO teams from Wilson School of Design (S. Fairburn, S. Phillips, L. Norris, B. van Rikxoort, M. Alary, K. Langer, J. Legoff, A. Nelmes, D. Seriani, A. Sullivan, G. Wong, C. Michel, W. Tsz Long Lo) for their amazing work in research and developing this habitat for the CHILL-ICE mission, during this difficult COVID period. They have been the key factor for the success of this mission and therefore this research.

In addition, we would like to thank the whole CHILL-ICE team for their remote support during the development of this habitat.

Lastly, we acknowledge the ILEWG EuroMoonMars manager B. Foing for making this research possible.


[1] M.V. Heemskerk et al., EGU2020-901-1, (2020)

[2] NASA STD-3000-90

[3] 2021LPI....52.2762H2021/03

CHILL-ICE (Construction of a Habitat Inside a Lunar-Analogue Lava Tube): Building and Testing of a Deployable Habitat in Icelandic Lava Tubes for Space Exploration Purposes

Heemskerk, M. V.; Pouwels, C. R.; Heemskerk, R. S.; Kerber, S.; Foing, B. H.

[4] 2021LPI....52.2502F2021/03

Life and Research at SouthPole Moonbase: EuroMoonMars Campaigns Results 2019-2020

Foing, B. H.; Rogers, H.; Musilova, M.; Weert, A.; Mulder, S.; Kerber, S.; Castro, A.; Pouwels, C.; Das Rajkakati, P.; Heemskerk, M.; et al

How to cite: Pouwels, C., Fairburn, S., van Rikxoort, B., Alary, M.-P., Heemskerk, M., Kerber, S., and Foing, B. and the CHILL-ICE ECHO Habitat Team: Construction of the Inflatable Habitat ECHO for Inside a Lunar-analogue Lava-tube, Europlanet Science Congress 2021, online, 13–24 Sep 2021, EPSC2021-835,, 2021.

Charlotte Pouwels, Jaap Elstgeest, Marc Heemskerk, and Bernard Foing

Introduction; In the summer of 2021, the analogue astronaut mission “CHILL-ICE” shall be carried out inside the Stefanshellir cave system. This short term 2-night emergency mission has the objective to put up an inflatable habitat inside a Lunar-analogue Lava tube, while wearing simulated space suits. For all extra-terrestrial missions, power is mandatory for survival of the crew. Therefore, this is likewise introduced in the CHILL-ICE analogue mission. A lot of devices such as; the short and long communication system, lighting, cooking area, equipment, Lunar Zebro rover and research projects all depend on this power system. 


System requirements; For the CHILL-ICE mission, a solar power system for remote areas has been developed by our partner Blinkinglights. The system with acronym PVES (Photo Voltaic Energy System) needed to fulfil the following mission requirements:

  • 8H put up/ Take down
    • Essential for the astronauts to stay alive.
  • Portable for 2 persons to carry around the selected lava tube
  • Free standing
    • Fidelity for an analogous mission and no reliance on ground conditions.
  • Peak power (Wp) of 2200W
  • Re-deployable
    • Needs to be used for recurring phases of analogue missions.
  • Easy to handle while wearing simulated space suits.
    • Fidelity in simulating the usage of a power system in an emergency situation in a extra-terrestrial environment.
  • Weather resistant

Interior needs to stay dry. The caves on Earth can be subject to high humidity and cave rain.

For this analogue mission and the usage of PVES, the influence of gravity and space vacuum has been neglected. In addition, PVES shall have an automatous function to shut down when a spike in current is measured above a certain threshold, preventing possible fires and/or harmful situations.

Furthermore, as the Stefanshellir cave system consist of a rocky basaltic terrain, the cable going from PVES to the habitat, needs to be able to withstand possible ruptures.


PVES; The PVES (Photo Voltaic Energy System) is designed to provide an electrical power supply for use in a remote location where no grid-power is available. It has to be portable and should be able to be set up with two persons in a limited timeframe. Because of the rough terrain in Iceland care was taken, to design a ruggedized system that should be able to withstand impact with sharp rocks and outdoor weather conditions (complying roughly with IP54 specifications).

The system is built from different components that can each be carried into the lava cave area by foot. These components can then be connected together using interconnect cables with locking connectors. Different types of connectors have been chosen to discern between different types of electrical connections, as to prevent accidental misconnections and reduce the risk of electrical shock to the operator.

There are four main components to the PVES (fig. 1): PV panels (2x), SolarBox MPPT solar charge controller, PowerBox Lithium battery + power inverter and an additional ChargerBox that can be used to charge the battery from a regular power socket or a generator when solar energy is insufficient.


(Figure 1: Overview of the PVES and its subsystems.)

There are three different voltages present in this system: PV output voltage (~ 30 VDC), DC battery voltage (12 VDC) and AC voltage (230 VAC). The 12 V connections to the PowerBox are fused to protect the wiring and connectors from overheating in case of a short or overcurrent situation. The AC output power is automatically protected by the inverter in the PowerBox. When excessive power is drawn (and the inverter heats up too much) it will shut down automatically. It will have to be reset manually after this.


It is important that all devices that will be connected to the AC output of the PowerBox are doubly insulated (IEC 61140 Class II, indicated by the symbol ⧈ (a square inside a square)), as there is no proper safety earthing provided by the PVES. The system will operate in what’s called an unearthed IT AC system. Currently no provision is made to monitor insulation resistance in accordance with IEC 61557-8 because of the short timeframe of preparations for the CHILL-ICE mission.

Care is taken to choose a cable type that is suited for use in these rough environments. The cable type used throughout the PVES is H07BQ-F polyurethane sheathed cable with an orange jacket for visibility. This cable is designed to withstand abrasion and specifically use around sharp objects. It is UV and moisture resistant. The technical specifications of the PVES are given in table 1 below.


(Table 1: PVES technical specifications.)

PVES technical specifications

Peak power (Wp)

3000 W

Continues Power (Wc)

1200 W


Standard Euroboxes


230 V

Type solar cells

60 cell Poly-crystalline

Battery type

Lithium (LiFePo4) 2kWh stored

Expected solar yield

1 kWh/day [4]



First, we would like to thank Jaap Elstgeest from Blinkinglights for his amazing work in researching and developing the PVES system for the CHILL-ICE mission, during this difficult COVID period. He has been the key factor for the success of the power system and therefore contributed significantly to this mission.

In addition, we would like to thank the whole CHILL-ICE team for their remote support during the development of PVES.

Lastly, we acknowledge the ILEWG EuroMoonMars manager B.  Foing for making this research possible.



[1] M.V. Heemskerk et al., EGU2020-901-1, (2020)

[2] 2021LPI....52.2762H2021/03 CHILL-ICE (Construction of a Habitat Inside a Lunar-Analogue Lava Tube): Building and Testing of a Deployable Habitat in Icelandic Lava Tubes for Space Exploration Purposes Heemskerk, M. V.; Pouwels, C. R.; Heemskerk, R. S.; Kerber, S.; Foing, B. H.

[3] 2021LPI....52.2502F2021/03 Life and Research at SouthPole Moonbase: EuroMoonMars Campaigns Results 2019-2020 Foing, B. H.; Rogers, H.; Musilova, M.; Weert, A.; Mulder, S.; Kerber, S.; Castro, A.; Pouwels, C.; Das Rajkakati, P.; Heemskerk, M.; et al

[4] Calculated with

How to cite: Pouwels, C., Elstgeest, J., Heemskerk, M., and Foing, B.: Overview of the Photo Voltaic Energy System (PVES) for the CHILL-ICE mission, Europlanet Science Congress 2021, online, 13–24 Sep 2021, EPSC2021-836,, 2021.

Science and Innovation from AATC simulation Base , Poland
Agata Kolodziejczyk and Matt Harasymczuk
Maria Genzer, Harri Haukka, Maria Hieta, Antti Kestilä, Ignacio Arruego, Victor Apestigue, Alejandro Gonzalo Melchor, Cristina Ortega, Carmen Camañes, Manuel Dominiguez-Pumar, Jose Antonio Rodriquez Manfredi, Servando Espejo, Héctor Guerrero, Matti Palin, Jarmo Kivekäs, Petri Koskimaa, Iina Jaakonaho, Matias Meskanen, and Matti Talvioja

MiniPINS is an ESA study led by the Finnish Meteorological Institute to develop and prototype miniaturised surface sensor packages (SSPs) for Mars and the Moon. The study aims at miniaturising the scientific sensors and subsystems, as well as identifying and utilizing commonalities of the packages, allowing to optimise the design, cut costs and reduce the development time. MiniPINS mission passed its Mission Definition Review in 2020, and Preliminary Requirements Review in 2021. The mission is currently in phase B1. 

Mars SSP “MINS” is a penetrator with approx. 25 kg mass, piggy-backed by another Mars mission spacecraft to Mars and deployed either from the approach orbit or Mars orbit.  The design of MINS has significant heritage from FMI’s MetNet mission design [1]. 4 penetrators are planned to be released to different landing sites on Mars. The Entry, Descent and Landing sequence of MINS is completely autonomous and controlled by its on-board computer. In the Martian atmosphere the penetrators undergo aerodynamic braking with inflatable breaking units (IBUs) until they reach the target velocity of 60-80 m/s for entering the Martian surface. The penetration depth target is up to 0.5 m, depending on the hardness of the soil.


The geometry of MINS penetrator includes a thin section to improve penetrability to the soil, a medium section with 150 mm diameter to accommodate a 2U CubeSat structure inside, and a top section with a wider diameter to stop the penetration and avoid the top part to be buried inside the soil. The deployable boom is accommodated in the top section, together with some surface sensors. The subsystems of MINS are developed using two approaches: COTS with flight heritage and delta-qualification (mainly CubeSat systems) and in-house development.

MINS has an ambitious science program to study for example the Martian atmosphere, seismology, magnetic field and chemistry. Scientific measurements will be performed above, at and below the Martian surface. MINS nominal mission will last for 1 Martian year (2 Earth years) with another Martian year as an option.

Lunar SSP “LINS” is a miniature 7 kg station deployed on the Moon surface by a rover. The baseline carrier mission for LINS is European Large Logistics Lander (EL3). 4 LINS packages are deployed to different sites within the rover’s traveling perimeter by the rover’s robotic arm. Once placed, LINS will perform scientific measurements for a minimum of 2 years (nominal mission).

LINS thermal design enables its survival during 14-day long Lunar nights when the temperature drops down to -170°C. LINS consists of a double structure, with external separated from the internal by PEEK blocks. The bottom of LINS can be completely in contact with the lunar regolith, since it is isolated from the internal one, and the space between can accommodate additional thermal insulation. Additional heating power is provided by 3W RHU of European design.


LINS will characterize the local environment with context images, thermal sensors, magnetometer, seismometer and ionizing radiation sensor. Other scientific payload options were also studied, but they were left as optional choices due to mass and energy limitations of LINS. The subsystems of LINS have much synergy with MINS with many based on CubeSat systems.   

[1] Harri et al. (2017), The MetNet vehicle: a lander to deploy environmental stations for local and global investigations on Mars, Geosci. Instrum. Method. Data Syst., 6, 103-124


MiniPINS contract is carried out under a programme of and funded by the European Space Agency. The view expressed herein can in no way be taken to reflect the official opinion of the European Space Agency. 

How to cite: Genzer, M., Haukka, H., Hieta, M., Kestilä, A., Arruego, I., Apestigue, V., Gonzalo Melchor, A., Ortega, C., Camañes, C., Dominiguez-Pumar, M., Rodriquez Manfredi, J. A., Espejo, S., Guerrero, H., Palin, M., Kivekäs, J., Koskimaa, P., Jaakonaho, I., Meskanen, M., and Talvioja, M.: MiniPINS - Miniature Planetary In-situ Sensor Packages for Mars and Moon, Europlanet Science Congress 2021, online, 13–24 Sep 2021, EPSC2021-69,, 2021.

Sonia Fornasier, Maria Antonietta Barucci, Jean-Michel Reess, Pernelle Bernardi, Michel Le Du, Alain Doressoundiram, Takahiro Iwata, Hiromu Nakagawa, Tomoki Nakamura, Frederic Chapron, Napoleon Nguyen Tuong, Jerome Parisot, Matthieu Castelnau, Aurelien Bour, and Feriel Tache

The Martian Moon Explorer (MMX) is a sample return JAXA mission that is devoted to the exploration of the Mars system. MMX will be launched in 2024, inserted into Mars orbit in 2025, and will investigate the martian system during 3 years, focusing mainly on Phobos, the principal target of the mission. The main goals of MMX are to return samples of Phobos, and, throughout both the in situ detailed investigation of Mars satellites and the further laboratory studies of Phobos samples on Earth, to clarify the origin of the Mars satellites and the process of planets formation in the Solar System. Observations of Mars will also be performed to investigate its evolution history and its atmosphere. To reach these goals, MMX has a complex onboard instrumentation including imaging systems, infrared, neutron and gamma-ray spectrometers, a lidar, a mass spectrum analyzer, a dust monitoring instrument, and a rover for in situ investigation, beside the sampling and retrieval devices.

We present in this work the design and performances of the MMX InfraRed Spectrometer (MIRS), which is an imaging spectrometer operating between 0.9 - 3.6 microns.  MIRS is provided by CNES and built at LESIA-Paris Observatory in collaboration with four other French laboratories (LAB, LATMOS, LAM, IRAP-OMP), and in close collaboration with JAXA and MELCO. 

MIRS is a spectrometer that uses the push-broom acquisition principle. A single detector acquisition (2D matrix) provides the image of a strip in one direction (spatial), and the spectrum of each point of the strip in the second direction (spectral). The second spatial dimension results from the motion of MIRS Line of Sight in the along-track direction either thanks to the spacecraft speed or by actuation of a scanner mounted on the instrument, which allows ± 20° of optical amplitude respect to the boresight.

The optical design includes a telescope with two free form mirrors focusing the target on the entrance slit of the spectrometer, a collimator, a low-density groove grating working at first order, and a couple of dioptric objectives. The first one projects the spectral image on a filter that sorts the grating orders. The second one projects this spectral image on the detector, but also images the pupil on a cold stop in order to limit the background flux due to the thermal emission of the spectrometer. The detector is a hybrid CMOS made of 500 columns by 256 lines with square pixels of 30 µm pitch, sensitive from 0.45 to 3.8 µm. Both the detector and the cold stop are encapsulated in a cryostat and cooled down to 110 K. A shutter is placed in the slit plane in order to close the spectrometer cavity after the telescope and acquire background images that can be subtracted to science data. The instrument includes also a front cover to limit dust pollution when landing on Phobos, as well as an internal calibration lamp. The MIRS field of view (FOV) is ≥ ±1.65°.

MIRS will observe Phobos and Deimos in the 0.9-3.6 μm range with a spectral resolution better than 20 nm and with a spatial resolution of 0.35 mrad/px. For Phobos, MIRS will acquire spectra at SNR > 100 up to 3.2 micron in about 2 seconds of integration time for observations carried out at phase angle of 30°. The spatial resolution is of 13-30 m/px during the Quasi Satellite Orbit-Medium global survey (altitude varying from 37 to 84 km), down to meter to sub-meter for the selected sampling sites candidates or the sampling spot. The spectral radiometric absolute accuracy is expected to be of 10%, and the relative accuracy of 1%.

Thanks to the large wavelength coverage and high SNR, MIRS will detect faint absorption features associated to minerals and materials that will help in understanding the satellite origin and composition, like anhydrous and/or hydrated silicates, water ice and organic matter, if any. The high SNR and the unprecedented spatial resolution achieved by MIRS will permit to fully characterize the composition and mineralogy of Phobos and Deimos, and to further investigate the local compositional heterogeneity associated with the different geomorphological features across Phobos surface. MIRS will also study Mars atmosphere, in particular the spatial and temporal changes such as clouds, dust and water vapor.  

How to cite: Fornasier, S., Barucci, M. A., Reess, J.-M., Bernardi, P., Le Du, M., Doressoundiram, A., Iwata, T., Nakagawa, H., Nakamura, T., Chapron, F., Nguyen Tuong, N., Parisot, J., Castelnau, M., Bour, A., and Tache, F.: MIRS Imaging Spectrometer for the Martian Moon Explorer (MMX) Mission, Europlanet Science Congress 2021, online, 13–24 Sep 2021, EPSC2021-159,, 2021.

Kevin McGrath and the EMMPOL

We shall describe a series of periods of Habitat Isolations that took place at The Analog Astronaut Training Centre near Krakow Poland during 2021. A number of organisations with participating members from various European Universities, were all working as part of the EuroMoonMars Project. The aim of these campaigns is to build a foundation for training future Analog Astronauts whilst developing their scientific skills and knowledge. This will support current research in developing a habitat on the surface of the Moon or Mars.

EMMPOL 3, 4 & 5 (22 April-15 May 2021): These campaigns were crews of six Analog Astronauts that spent seven days in isolation; they were supported by a local team that assisted in the case that any problem arises and run a daily astronomical weather forecast. During the isolation period the Astronauts conducted a variety of scientific experiments and tested various technological instruments. These projects include the development of communication techniques, the investigation into laboratory equipment and advancement in the understanding of human and machine interaction. The Astronauts carried out a variety of daily tasks and activities such as physical health training, meal preparation and individual downtime that will assist in the well-being of each participant.

EMMPOL 6 & 7 (August 2021): These campaigns will hope to be in advancement to the previous missions that will investigate more areas of scientific research. These missions will take place in August along with a Rocket Workshop headed by the AATC Team.


We thank the Analog Astronaut Training Centre, and EuroMoonMars team colleagues providing support.

How to cite: McGrath, K. and the EMMPOL: EuroMoonMars-Poland Analog Astronaut Campaigns of 2021, Europlanet Science Congress 2021, online, 13–24 Sep 2021, EPSC2021-786,, 2021.

Edward A. Cloutis, Alexis Parkinson, Daniel Applin, Yang Gao, and Roman Kruzelecky

Introduction: Lunar exploration is driven by a number of science and exploration goals (e.g., LEAG, 2016, 2017) [1]. One is determining the presence of water ice deposits in permanently shadowed regions (PSRs) [e.g., 2-5]. They are of scientific interest because past lunar exospheric conditions may be preserved in the ice [6], as well as for in-situ resource utilization.

Multiple lines of evidence indicate that water ice is or may be present within some PSRs [e.g., 2, 6,7]. However, its areal distribution is largely unknown, particularly at sub-km spatial scales. Detecting surficial water ice within these PSRs could be achieved through active reflectance spectroscopy [e.g., 8].

The VMMO Remote Sensing Payload:  The proposed VMMO mission, which recently completed a CSA-funded Phase 0 and ESA-funded Phase A study, is intended to probe PSRs at spatial scales of metres to tens of metres. Active sensing will be accomplished via a three-band lidar system using wavelengths of 532, 1064, and 1560 nm [9].

The selection of these wavelengths was designed to enable discrimination of water ice from mare and highlands. Highland regolith spectra are generally moderately bright in the visible region, flat to red-sloped beyond the visible region, usually with a weak plagioclase feldspar absorption band in the 1300 nm region, and sometimes with weak mafic silicate absorption bands in the 1000 and 2000 nm regions [10] (Figure 1). Mare regolith spectra are darker in the visible region, red-sloped beyond the visible region, and with weak to moderate mafic silicate absorption bands in the 1000 and 2000 nm regions (Figure 2). Water ice spectra are bright in the visible region, with blue sloped spectra beyond this region, and increasingly strong water ice absorption bands in the 1000, 1500, and 2000 nm regions [11] (Figure 3).  At the VMMO wavelengths, these types of materials can be discriminated using both absolute reflectance and reflectance ratios for these three wavelengths.

However, dust cover, percentage of ice covered by regolith, and regolith: ice ratio, and how dust and ice are mixed together could all influence the efficiency of detecting water ice. We have conducted laboratory experiments to test for how physical properties of ice + powdered lunar rock affect our ability to detect water ice using the three-band lidar system. We considered the following parameters: (1) different water ice: lunar material ratios in both intimate and areal mixtures; (2) local slope; and (3) different thicknesses of dust cover over water ice.

Methods: Reflectance spectra (350-2500 nm) were acquired with an ASD Fieldspec Pro HR spectrometer. To simulate a lidar, we used a bifurcated fiber optic bundle, which provided co-aligned incidence and emission (i=e=0°). To measure the effects of local slope on lidar return, the samples were positioned at 10˚, 20˚, 30˚ and 40˚ off normal. All spectra were measured relative to a calibrated Spectralon panel.

Results: Ice detection is possible using reflectance spectroscopy at 532, 1064, and 1530 nm for water ice abundances as low as 1 wt.%. We can determine or constrain whether water ice is exposed at the lunar surface, or covered by a thin dust layer. Both absolute and reflectance ratios using all three bands are required to fully detect and discriminate mare, highland, and water ice and to derive water ice surficial abundance.

Water ice detection and discrimination is reliant on reflectance of the 1560 nm band, as this is where a strong water ice O-H overtone occurs, and reflectance in this region rapidly decreases with increasing ice abundance. In all cases, lunar regolith spectra are red-sloped (reflectance increasing toward longer wavelengths), and absolute reflectance varies with factors such as maturity and ilmenite abundance. Detection of water ice will be enhanced by comparing spectra acquired during a scan across a PSR, where mineralogical variations inside and immediately outside a PSR should be similar but vary in temperature [12, 13].

Ilmenite detection: VMMO can also operate in passive reflectance mode. A portion of the detector will be equipped with a bandpass filter to measure reflected light in the ultraviolet (~290 nm) region. Ilmenite discrimination is best accomplished using an ultraviolet: visible reflectance ratio [14] (Fig. 4).

Summary: VMMO provides an opportunity to search for surficial water ice at high sensitivity and spatial resolution useful for targeting locations for investigation by surface landers with precision guidance capabilities.

Acknowledgements: This study has been supported by ESA, CSA, CFI, MRIF, NSERC, and UWinnipeg.

References:  [1] LEAG, (2016, 2017). [2] Nozette S. et al. (2001) JGR, 106, 23253–23266. [3] Lawrence, D.J. (2011). Nature Geosci., 4, 586-588. [4] Lawrence, D.J. (2017) JGR, 122, 21-52. [5] Lucey, P.G. (2009) Elements, 5, 41-46. [6] Feldman W. C. et al. (2001) JGR, 106, 23231–23251. [7] Colaprete, A., et al. (2010) Science, 330, 463-468. [8] Yoldi Z. et al. (2018) LPSC 49, # 2083. [9] Kruzelecky R. V. et al. (2018) ICES, 227, 1–20. [10] Pieters, C.M. (1986) Rev. Geophys.. 44, 557-578. [11] Clark, R.N. (1981) JGR, 86, 3087-3096. [12] Watson, K., et al. (1961) JGR, 66, 1598–1600. [13] Vasavada, A. R., et al. (1999) Icarus, 141,

179–193. [14] Robinson, M.S., et al. (2007) GRL, 34, L13203. [14] C. Pitcher, et al. (2016) ASR, 57(5), 1197–1208.


Figure 1. Reflectance spectra of two Apollo 16 highland regolith samples (<1 mm grain size). Locations of the VMMO lidar bands are shown.


Figure 2. Reflectance spectra of some Apollo mare regolith samples (<1 mm grain size). Locations of the VMMO lidar bands are shown.


Figure 3. Reflectance spectra of glacial ice and snow, showing the effects of grain size variations on reflectance. The locations of the VMMO lidar bands are shown.



Figure 4. Reflectance spectra of <45 micron powders of major lunar minerals. Note the differences in spectral slope between ilmenite and the other minerals (i.e., reflectance rising toward the ultraviolet). Location of the proposed UV passive reflectance bandpass and 532 nm lidar band are shown.




How to cite: Cloutis, E. A., Parkinson, A., Applin, D., Gao, Y., and Kruzelecky, R.: Lunar Science Support Activities for “Volatile and Mineralogy Mapping Orbiter (VMMO)” Mission, Europlanet Science Congress 2021, online, 13–24 Sep 2021, EPSC2021-4,, 2021.