ProsPA: A miniature chemical laboratory for in-situ assessment of lunar volatile resources

Barber, S. J.; Carpenter, James; Wright, Ian; Morse, Andrew; Sheridan, Simon; Morgan, Geraint; Gibson, Everett; Howell, Chris; Reiss, Phil; Fisackerly, Richard and Houndou, B. (2015). ProsPA: A miniature chemical laboratory for in-situ assessment of lunar volatile resources. In: European Lunar Science and Exploration, 12-15 May 2015, Frascati, Italy.


A Package for Resource Observation and in-Situ Prospecting for Exploration, Commercial exploitation and Transportation (PROSPECT) is in development by ESA for application at the lunar surface as part of international lunar exploration missions in the coming decade, including the Russian Luna-27 mission planned for 2020.

Establishing the utilisation potential of resources found in-situ on the Moon may be key to enabling future sustainable exploration. PROSPECT will support the identification of potential resources, assess the utilisation potential of those resources at a given location and provide information to help establish the broader distribution. PROSPECT will also perform investigations into resource extraction methodologies that maybe applied at larger scales in the future and provide data with important implications for fundamental scientific investigations on the Moon.

PROSPECT comprises two main elements: a drill system named ProSEED designed to access samples from depths up to 2 m, and ProsPA (Figure 1), a miniature chemical laboratory for the extraction and characterisation of volatiles within those samples.

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