Chemical Lidar Science Payload for the Lunar Volatile and Mineralogy Mapping Orbiter


Understanding the lunar near-surface distribution of in-situ resources, such as ilmenite (FeTiO3), and volatiles, such as water/ice, is vital to future sustained manned bases. However, there is a large uncertainty in the distribution and quantity of the lunar resources. Moreover, planned future lunar orbiter missions have relatively limited spatial resolution, in the km range, for volatile mappings relative to lander and rover requirements. The VMMO Volatile and Mineralogy Mapping Orbiter is a low-cost 12U Cubesat that is being designed for a potential flight opportunity with the SSTL Lunar Communications Pathfinder Orbiter. VMMO would be injected into a nominal high-eccentricity lunar orbit. It would then use its on-board propulsion to attain the desired operating orbit. VMMO comprises the LVMM Lunar Volatile and Mineralogy Mapper science payload, the CLAIRE Compact LunAr Ionising Radiation Environment monitor with a COTS electronics testbed, and the supporting 12U Cubesat bus, which has dual ion and cold-gas propulsion, direct to Earth S-band and optical communications, on board data processing and a suite of sensors for semi-autonomous navigation. The compact LVMM is a multi-wavelength Chemical Lidar (<6.1 kg) using single-mode (SM) fiber lasers emitting at 532nm, 1064nm and 1560nm, for stand-off mapping of the lunar water/ice distribution using active illumination, with a focus on selected permanently-shadowed craters in the lunar south pole. This combination of spectral channels can provide very sensitive discrimination of water/ice in various Mare and Highland regolith based on relevant bread-board validations. The use of the SM fiber lasers enables a relatively high spatial resolution in the 10m range. LVMM can also be used in a passive multispectral mode to map the lunar ilmenite in-situ resource distribution during the lunar day using the characteristic surface-reflected solar illumination. This paper discusses the VMMO threshold and augmented science definitions, and the resultant mission architecture and data products.


Roman Kruzelecky, MPB Communications Inc., Canada
Piotr Murzionak, MPB Communications Inc., Canada
Jonathan Lavoie, MPB Communications Inc., Canada
Ian Sinclair, MPB Communications Inc., Canada
Gregory Schinn, MPB Communications Inc., Canada
Yang Gao, University of Surrey, United Kingdom
Craig Underwood, Surrey Space Centre of the University of Surrey, United Kingdom
Edward Cloutis, University of Winnipeg, Canada
Christopher Bridges, Surrey Space Centre of the University of Surrey, United Kingdom
Roberto Armellin, Universidad de La Rioja, Spain
Andrea Luccafabris, University of Surrey, United Kingdom
Mike Daly, York University, Canada
Amélie St-Amour, NGC Aerospace Ltd., Canada
Jean de Lafontaine, NGC Aerospace Ltd., Canada
Johan Leijtens, Lens Research and Development, Netherlands
ICES308: Advanced Technologies for In-Situ Resource Utilization
The 49th International Conference on Environmental Systems was held in Boston, Massachusetts, USA on 07 July 2019 through 11 July 2019.


Lunar Cubesat, multiwavelength chemical lidar, in-situ resources, water ice, volatiles, ilmenite, VMMO