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NeuRover: Rover Enabled Neutron Energy Detector for Lunar Resource Mapping

Award Information
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Branch: N/A
Contract: 80NSSC20C0202
Agency Tracking Number: 192955
Amount: $748,946.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: Z12
Solicitation Number: SBIR_19_P2
Solicitation Year: 2019
Award Year: 2020
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2020-06-25
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2022-06-24
Small Business Information
4615 Dwight Drive
Manhattan, KS 66502-1417
United States
DUNS: 078496852
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Steven Bellinger
 (785) 532-7087
Business Contact
 Grace Friedel
Title: gfriedel
Phone: (785) 532-7087
Research Institution

High-spatial (lt;10-m/pixel) resolution orbital instruments are only capable of detecting surficial ice and subsurface ice estimates for Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) are ambiguous and remain controversial. Orbiting neutron spectrometer instruments are capable of measuring hydrogen within the top 10s of cms of regolith but are limited to spatial resolution in the 100rsquo;s of km^2. Reducing the spatial resolution of such an instrument via collimation is technically challenging. Alternatively, a neutron spectrometer instrument on a lunar rover would be able to measure hydrogen and He-3 within the top meter of regolith with a spatial resolution of ~1-m^2, similar to the cancelled RESOLVE mission. The RESOLVE rover was a large rover capable of prospecting for lunar ice, drilling into such ice, and determining the actual ice content. Thus, the area at which RESOLVE could prospect was hampered by the objectives of the other instruments. Therefore, this work aims to resurrect the prospecting part of the RESOLVE rover by allowing a small size and low cost of the micro-sized detector/rover package ldquo;the NeuRoverrdquo; that will allow for a single mission to disperse numerous micro-rovers over a much wider range than is possible with a single rover. The high-resolution data will be invaluable for future lunar exploration as it would allow future in-situ exploration to of highly concentrated locations of hydrogen. Additionally, such a mission could revolutionize our understanding of trapped volatiles on planetary bodies (e.g., Moon, Mercury, Ceres), as it will better map the heterogeneity vertically and laterally of hydrogen deposits. The innovation proposed is a small-mass, low-power, Neutron Energy Spectrometer (NES) for Mapping of Sub-Surface Lunar water content that can be supported by a micro-sized rover. The Team has previously developed an instrument that can measure the hydrogen content (water) of soil by stacking alternating layers of neutron absorber, moderator, and detectors.nbsp;

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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