Physics @ Berkeley
Events in Physics
Title: 290B Seminar    (Seminar)
Start Date: 02/12/2013
Time: 1:00 pm
Location: 325 Old LeConte Hall, Campus
Speaker: Greg Delory
Affiliation: SSL/UCB
Contact Person: Chadi Salem

"New Views of the Moon: The Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer"


Abstract:  The National Research Council report The Scientific Context for Exploration of the Moon (SCEM) lists studies of the pristine state of the lunar atmosphere and dust environment as one of eight major priorities for future lunar science missions. The Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) mission is currently under development to address this goal. The lunar atmosphere is primarily a regolith-derived population of neutrals in the collisionless regime, with each constituent forming its own exosphere. A host of processes are capable of influencing exospheric dynamics at the Moon, including meteoric influx, plasma sputtering, thermal and chemical effects, and internal geophysical activity. Surface charging due to plasma currents may also be conducive to the levitation and transport of lunar dust. LADEE will study the tenuous lunar atmosphere both in situ and remotely using a neutral mass spectrometer (NMS) and an ultra-violet/visible spectrometer (UVS). The lunar dust experiment (LDEX) will study the dust population, which may be of either lunar or interplanetary origin. LADEE is a low-cost lunar orbiter managed by the NASA Ames Research Center (ARC) in cooperation with the Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC), and is designed to be compatible with light lift capability launch vehicles. LADEE is an important component in NASA’s portfolio of near-term lunar missions, addressing both science and exploration objectives not covered by other U.S. or international efforts, and whose observations should be conducted before large scale human or robotic activities perturb the tenuous and fragile lunar environment.