MARAUDERS: A mission concept to probe volatile distribution and properties at the lunar poles with miniature impactors

Riu, L., Ballouz, R.-L., Van wal, S., Çelik, O. , Baresi, N., Boden, R. and Crites, S. (2020) MARAUDERS: A mission concept to probe volatile distribution and properties at the lunar poles with miniature impactors. Planetary and Space Science, 189, 104969. (doi: 10.1016/j.pss.2020.104969)

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We present a small-scale mission concept to characterize the permanently shadowed regions of the lunar south pole. MARAUDERS aims to measure in situ for the first time the presence, distribution, and state of volatiles in one permanently shaded crater at a greater resolution than existing orbital measurements using up to 12 deployed impactors. A total of 15 permanently shadowed regions have been characterized as potential landing sites candidates for the probes. The science principle is based on penetrometry, that has proven in the past to be an efficient technique to estimate regolith properties from acceleration profiles. We demonstrate this concept by numerically simulating the surface interaction between our probes and the lunar regolith, thereby demonstrating how deceleration profiles can elucidate information on key regolith properties and help discriminate between two ice-regolith end-members. The preliminary payload design indicates that a good baseline for the impactors would be a spherical shell of 30–40 ​mm in size and ~90 ​g in mass per impactor, including electronics and the communication system. This would sum up to an overall payload of ~1 ​kg contained in a volume of ~15.10−4 ​m3, which is in agreement with a small-scale payload. Preliminary landing trajectory design enabled the computing of a nominal deployment scenario (with constraint on altitude, ejection velocity and spin rate) that would provide dispersions of the probes from ~250 ​m down to ~20 ​m if deployed from orbit, and down to ~10 ​m if deployed from a carrier lander/rover. Both scenarios will be able to comply with the MARAUDERS’ objectives to assess: (1) the presence (2) the distribution and (3) the surface strength heterogeneity (that can be traced back to the state of volatiles through lab experiments) of water-ice volatiles in permanently shadowed regions at a resolution ​< ​10 ​s ​m via ground-truth measurements. Future work will be dedicated to experimental work to validate the modelling as a proof of concept for the MARAUDERS, as well as the development of the payload.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:This project is led at ISAS/JAXA and supported by the grants for Japanese Government (MEXT) Scholarship Program (Monbukagakusho), Aerospace Research Project Associate and International Top Young Fellow.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Celik, Dr Onur
Authors: Riu, L., Ballouz, R.-L., Van wal, S., Çelik, O., Baresi, N., Boden, R., and Crites, S.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Engineering > Systems Power and Energy
Journal Name:Planetary and Space Science
ISSN (Online):1873-5088
Published Online:24 May 2020

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