Theme 1

Interaction of Solar Wind Radiation and Micrometeorites with Surfaces of Airless Bodies


Picture of Theme 1 Concepts
This theme investigates:
  • The Production of volatiles (H2o and CH4) through Simulated Solar Wind keV Ion Interactions
  • The Evolution of Volatiles through Simulated Solar Wind Photon and Electron Interactions
  • The Spectral Characterization of Space Weather Simulations
  • The Solar Wind Proton Interactions with Lunar and NEA Surfaces: Modeling
  • The Diffusion Studies of Irradiated Lunar and NEA Samples
This theme is designed to accomplish the following tasks:
  • Examine the physical and chemical details involved in solar wind processing of lunar and NEA surfaces using state-of-art proton, electron, high energy ions and vacuum ultraviolet photon irradiation facilities.
  • Conduct simulated micrometeorite bombardment studies using state-of-the-art dust accelerator facilities and laser impact simulation experiments.
  • Develop first principles models to describe the molecular level details involved in radiation-induced transformation of the lunar and NEA samples.
  • Measure volatile diffusion coefficients and test the use of solar radiation to produce water directly from the regolith simulant.


The emphasis of these tasks will be on understanding the fundamental physics and chemistry as it pertains to regolith transformation, volatile production and transport as well as possible in situ resource verification and utilization for future human exploration sites.