Targeted for launch in the early 2020s, NASA's Resource Prospector mission aims to locate elements from a lunar polar region. The rover is designed to excavate volatiles such as hydrogen, oxygen and water from the moon.1
The rover utilize its Near Infrared Volatiles Spectrometer System (NIRVSS) and the Neutron Spectrometer System (NSS) to sense buried hydrogen (e.g., hydrogen in the form of water).2 Once the rover finds an appropriate location, it will drill and extract samples of the lunar regolith from as deep as one meter below the surface.
The sample will be deposited into the Oxygen and Volatile Extraction Node (OVEN), where the sample will be heated in a sealed chamber, and extract oxygen and hydrogen from the regolith sample.
Volatiles evolved from the OVEN will then be analyzed by the Lunar Advanced Volatile Analysis (LAVA) that contains a gas chromatograph (GC) and mass spectrometer (MS) subsystem to determine the type and quantity of elements and compounds contained in the lunar regolith.
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- "Resource Prospector." NASA. NASA, n.d. Web. 19 Aug. 2016.
- Mahoney, Erin. "Resource Prospector 2015 Field Testing Complete." NASA. NASA, 29 Sept. 2015. Web. 19 Aug. 2016.