LRO Spectrometer Detects Helium In Moon's Atmosphere | Aero-News Network
Aero-News Network
RSS icon RSS feed
podcast icon MP3 podcast
Subscribe Aero-News e-mail Newsletter Subscribe

Airborne Unlimited -- Recent Daily Episodes

Episode Date

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Airborne On ANN

Airborne 07.18.16

Airborne 07.19.16

Airborne 07.20.16

Airborne 07.21.16

Airborne 07.22.16

Airborne Hi-Def On YouTube

Airborne 07.18.16

Airborne 07.19.16

Airborne 07.20.16

Airborne 07.21.16

Airborne 07.22.16

Tweet Us The Coolest Things You See @OSH16!
#OSH16Coolest!

It's Alive!: AirVenture 2016 Innovation Preview on Vimeo!

It's Alive!: AirVenture 2016 Innovation Preview on YouTube!

 

Sun, Aug 19, 2012

LRO Spectrometer Detects Helium In Moon's Atmosphere

Origin Of The Gas Still In Question

Scientists using the Lyman Alpha Mapping Project (LAMP) spectrometer aboard NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) have made the first spectroscopic observations of the noble gas helium in the tenuous atmosphere surrounding the Moon. These remote-sensing observations complement in situ measurements taken in 1972 by the Lunar Atmosphere Composition Experiment (LACE) deployed by Apollo 17.

Although designed to map the lunar surface, the LAMP team expanded its science investigation to examine the far ultraviolet emissions visible in the tenuous atmosphere above the lunar surface, detecting helium over a campaign spanning more than 50 orbits. Because helium also resides in the interplanetary background, several techniques were applied to remove signal contributions from the background helium and determine the amount of helium native to the Moon. Geophysical Research Letters published this research in 2012.

"The question now becomes, does the helium originate from inside the Moon, for example, due to radioactive decay in rocks, or from an exterior source, such as the solar wind?" says Dr. Alan Stern, LAMP principal investigator and associate vice president of the Space Science and Engineering Division at Southwest Research Institute, Boulder, CO. "If we find the solar wind is responsible, that will teach us a lot about how the same process works in other airless bodies," says Stern.

If spacecraft observations show no such correlation, radioactive decay or other internal lunar processes could be producing helium that diffuses from the interior or that is released during lunar quakes. "With LAMP's global views as it moves across the Moon in future observations, we'll be in a great position to better determine the dominant source of the helium," says Stern.

Another point for future research involves helium abundances. The LACE measurements from the 1970s showed an increase in helium abundances as the night progressed. This could be explained by atmospheric cooling, which concentrates atoms at lower altitudes. LAMP will further build on those measurements by investigating how the abundances vary with latitude. During its campaign, LACE also detected the noble gas argon on the lunar surface. Although significantly fainter to the spectrograph, LAMP also will seek argon and other gases during future observations. "These ground-breaking measurements were enabled by our flexible operations of LRO as a Science Mission, so that we can now understand the Moon in ways that were not expected when LRO was launched in 2009," said Richard Vondrak, LRO Project Scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD.

(Image provided by NASA)

FMI: www.nasa.gov/lro

Advertisement

More News

Airborne 07.22.16: ONE Aviation New Jet, Drone Pilot Nabbed, Stemme Twin Voyager

Also: AEA Giveaway, 44 Trips To OSH, Airbus Drones, Future Pilots, NTSB Training, Air BP, Boeing Forecast, ALPA Milestone ONE Aviation has provided ANN with the initial outline for>[...]

It's ALIVE! 2016 AirVenture Innovation Preview Program Debuting RIGHT NOW!

Get The EARLY Inside Details On THE Most Exciting NEW Innovations And Product Announcements From OSHKOSH... The staff of EAA and the Aero-News Network are pleased to announce that >[...]

EAA Raises The Bar -- Accessible Safety STC Adds More Aircraft, More Devices

STC Can Be Ordered Online Starting Right Now We knew it was coming and we're glad to see it coming along so well and siwiftly... EAA has announced several much anticipated updates >[...]

Airborne 07.21.16: KC46 Update, Fly A P40 at AirVenture?, Runway Conditions

Also: ANN 2016 Oshkosh Schedule, Airplane Efficiency, Federal Excise Tax, A320neo, Jet Demos, 100+ Exoplanets, CFM's $8.2B Deal The KC-46 Pegasus aerial tanker program moved closer>[...]

Teens With Drone Help Solve Boat Theft

Followed The Suspects As Far As They Could And Alerted Police Two teenagers with a camera-equipped UAV helped police catch some suspected boat thieves this week on Camano Island in>[...]

blog comments powered by Disqus



Advertisement

Advertisement

Podcasts

Advertisement

© 2007 - 2016 Web Development & Design by Pauli Systems, LC