Lunar Flashlight

Metadata Updated: July 17, 2020

Lunar Flashlight (LF) is an innovative cubesat mission sponsored by NASA’s Advanced Exploration Systems (AES) division to be launched on the Space Launch System (SLS) EM-1 flight as a secondary payload. LF is dedicated to locating water ice in the permanently shadowed regions of the lunar south pole by measuring surface reflectance at multiple wavelengths. LF will be one of the first cubesats performing science measurements beyond low Earth orbit and the first planetary mission to use multi-band active reflectometry from orbit. The Lunar Flashlight (LF) mission is a NASA 6U (6 Units of approximately 10×10×10 cm each) cubesat mission dedicated to mapping water ice in the permanently shadowed regions within 10° latitude of the lunar south pole. The measurement approach utilizes a multi-band reflectometer in orbit at the Moon. Planned to launch on the SLS EM-1 flight, this innovative secondary payload concept will begin to map the lunar south pole for volatiles and demonstrate several technological firsts, including being the first cubesat to orbit the Moon, the first planetary cubesat mission to use green propulsion, and the first mission to use lasers to look for water ice. Locating ice deposits in the Moon’s permanently shadowed craters addresses one of NASA’s Strategic Knowledge Gaps (SKGs) to detect composition, quantity, distribution, form of water/H species and other volatiles associated with lunar cold traps. The scientific and economic importance of lunar volatiles extends far beyond the question “is there water on the Moon?” Volatile materials including water come from sources central to NASA’s strategic plans, including comets, asteroids, interplanetary dust particles, interstellar molecular clouds, solar wind, and lunar volcanic and radiogenic gases. The volatile inventory, distribution, and state (bound or free, evenly distributed or blocky, on the surface or at depth, etc.) are crucial for understanding how these molecules interact with the lunar surface, and for utilization potential. The LF science goal is to identify locations where water ice may be present at concentrations ≥ 0.5wt% (0.5 weight %) on the lunar surface with a mapping resolution of 1-2 km (10 km for the minimum success criteria). During the planned 2-month primary mission, LF will pulse the lasers for several minutes from each of 11 near-rectilinear orbits, at altitudes of 12.6-52.4 km within 10° latitude of the lunar south pole. Lunar Flashlight is an exciting new mission concept that was recently selected by NASA’s Advanced Exploration Systems (AES) by a team from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, UCLA, and Marshall Space Flight Center. Planned to launch on the SLS EM-1 flight, this innovative, low-cost secondary payload concept will map the lunar south pole for volatiles and demonstrate several technological firsts, including being the first CubeSat to reach the Moon, the first planetary cubesat mission to use green propulsion, and the first mission to use lasers to look for water ice. Locating ice deposits in the Moon’s permanently shadowed craters addresses one of NASA’s Strategic Knowledge Gaps (SKGs) to detect composition, quantity, distribution, form of water/H species and other volatiles associated with lunar cold traps. The scientific and economic importance of lunar volatiles extends far beyond the question “is there water on the Moon?” Volatile materials including water come from sources central to NASA’s strategic plans, including comets, asteroids, interplanetary dust particles, interstellar molecular clouds, solar wind, and lunar volcanic and radiogenic gases. The volatile inventory, distribution, and state (bound or free, evenly distributed or blocky, on the surface

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Public: This dataset is intended for public access and use. License: No license information was provided. If this work was prepared by an officer or employee of the United States government as part of that person's official duties it is considered a U.S. Government Work.

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Dates

Metadata Created Date August 1, 2018
Metadata Updated Date July 17, 2020

Metadata Source

Harvested from NASA Data.json

Additional Metadata

Resource Type Dataset
Metadata Created Date August 1, 2018
Metadata Updated Date July 17, 2020
Publisher Space Technology Mission Directorate
Unique Identifier TECHPORT_14654
Maintainer
Public Access Level public
Bureau Code 026:00
Metadata Context https://project-open-data.cio.gov/v1.1/schema/catalog.jsonld
Metadata Catalog ID https://data.nasa.gov/data.json
Schema Version https://project-open-data.cio.gov/v1.1/schema
Catalog Describedby https://project-open-data.cio.gov/v1.1/schema/catalog.json
Harvest Object Id afe66f06-6976-43ba-90a7-41201b5973fd
Harvest Source Id 39e4ad2a-47ca-4507-8258-852babd0fd99
Harvest Source Title NASA Data.json
Data First Published 2020-09-01
Homepage URL https://techport.nasa.gov/view/14654
Data Last Modified 2020-01-29
Program Code 026:027
Source Datajson Identifier True
Source Hash e5e500adb3299b5653849ccd41c469ff63fdea98
Source Schema Version 1.1

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