MoonLITE Phase A Study Bridging Grant

Lead Research Organisation: University College London
Department Name: Mullard Space Science Laboratory

Abstract

MoonLITE is a proposed UK led 4 penetrator mission to explore the Moon. Penetrators are instrumented probes that impact the surface at high speed (in the case of MoonLITE this is 300 ms-1 or about 700mph). The MoonLITE probes would go on to make important science measurements about the seismic behaviour, chemical and geophysical make up or the lunar soil, and the amount of heat flowing from the Moon's interior to its surface. MoonLITE will characterise the lunar environment at a number of diverse sites which will be a vital precursor to later unmanned and manned exploration. In particular, one or more MoonLITE penetrators will be targeted at permanently shaded craters at the Moon's poles where it is believed there may be buried water ice and other volatiles that originated in cometary bombardments that occurred about 3billion years ago. The Phase A study will look in detail at technical feasibility and cost of a MoonLITE mission. Through a comparison of options and an optimisation of the technical details the best possible mission within the likely resources available will be identified.

Publications

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