Title

Lunar polar rover science operations: Lessons learned and mission architecture implications derived from the Mojave Volatiles Prospector (MVP) terrestrial field campaign

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

8-15-2016

Abstract

© 2016 The Mojave Volatiles Prospector (MVP) project is a science-driven field program with the goal of producing critical knowledge for conducting robotic exploration of the Moon. Specifically, MVP focuses on studying a lunar mission analog to characterize the form and distribution of lunar volatiles. Although lunar volatiles are known to be present near the poles of the Moon, the three dimensional distribution and physical characteristics of lunar polar volatiles are largely unknown. A landed mission with the ability to traverse the lunar surface is thus required to characterize the spatial distribution of lunar polar volatiles. NASA's Resource Prospector (RP) mission is a lunar polar rover mission that will operate primarily in sunlit regions near a lunar pole with near-real time operations to characterize the vertical and horizontal distribution of volatiles. The MVP project was conducted as a field campaign relevant to the RP lunar mission to provide science, payload, and operational lessons learned to the development of a real-time, short-duration lunar polar volatiles prospecting mission. To achieve these goals, the MVP project conducted a simulated lunar rover mission to investigate the composition and distribution of surface and subsurface volatiles in a natural environment with an unknown volatile distribution within the Mojave Desert, improving our understanding of how to find, characterize, and access volatiles on the Moon.

Publication Source (Journal or Book title)

Advances in Space Research

First Page

545

Last Page

559

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