In Situ Water Isotope Analyzer for Moon Exploration

Award Information
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Branch: N/A
Contract: NNX09CE28P
Agency Tracking Number: 084922
Amount: $100,000.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2009
Solicitation Year: 2008
Solicitation Topic Code: S1.11
Solicitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
Vista Photonics, Inc.
67 Condesa Road, Santa Fe, NM, 87508-8136
DUNS: 134161533
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Joerg Kutzner
 Principal Investigator
 (505) 466-3830
Business Contact
 Jeffrey Pilgrim
Title: President
Phone: (505) 466-3953
Research Institution
Studying the isotopic composition of materials is an established method to obtain detailed insight into formation and evolution processes in our Universe. Water may play a dominant role in unraveling these processes. Isotope hydrology applied in situ on the Moon and other planets might develop into the key method to understand the history of our Solar system. The Moon provides unique opportunities to study trapped volatile compounds, like water, due to the special conditions at its poles. These conditions enable the long term storage of volatiles and preservation of their isotopic composition. A compact, precise isotope hygrometer operated on the Moon will be an invaluable tool if abundant water sources are found on the Moon in upcoming missions. This project seeks to develop a highly sensitive, portable water isotope ratiometer for precisely measuring water samples in situ on the Moon. The optical sensors developed on this project will have unique features including fast response, high precision and strong species selectivity. Design criteria such as a small footprint, low weight, low power consumption and continuous sensor health monitoring will be implemented to optimize the sensors for application to the Moon. An absorption approach using modulation techniques will be implemented on a lunar mission suitable platform.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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