Sensing the Moon

Thursday, August 27, 2020 - 08:00 in Astronomy & Space

Image: A new sensor to identify lunar volatiles is being assembled in a clean room at The Open University, UK ahead of some exciting missions to the Moon.The Ion Trap Mass Spectrometer (ITMS) imaged above is a part of an instrument that will detect lunar volatiles from both the extremely thin atmosphere of the Moon and from the lunar soil.Its name is the Exospheric Mass Spectrometer (EMS), a the key element of NASA's Astrobotic mission that will fly to the Valles Mortis region of the Moon in 2021.The sensor is also part of ESA’s Prospect mission to study lunar water ice on board the Russian Luna-27 lander, set for launch in 2025. The platform will sample potential resources on the Moon to prepare technologies for future sustainable exploration.Developed by scientists at The Open University under an ESA contract, ITMS is based on an ‘ion trap’, an ingenious device that allows researchers to...

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