Lunar Prospector
Section M 2.10.
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Lunar Prospector Summary (1997)

Marvin Ostrega

All information rewritten from NSSDC, National Space Science Data Center.

Launch Date: October 1997

Launch Vehicle: Lockheed Launch Vehicle 2

Lauch Mass: 289 kg (fully fueled), 126 kg (dry)

Power Systems: Body Mounted 202 W Solar Cells and 15 amp-hr NiH Batteries

The Lunar Prospector is designed for a low polar orbit investigation of the Moon, including mapping of surface composition and possible polar ice deposits, measurements of magnetic and gravity fields, and study of lunar outgassing events. Data from 1 to 3 year mission will allow construction of a detailed, map of the surface composition of the Moon, and will improve our understanding of the origin, evolution, current state, and resources of the Moon. The spacecraft will be graphite-epoxy drum, 1.4 meters in diameter and 1.22 meters high with three radial instrument booms. It will be spin-stabilized and controlled by 6 hydrazine monopropellant 22-Newton thrusters. Communications are through two S-band transponders and slotted, phased-array medium gain antenna and omnidirectional low-gain antenna. There will be no on-board computer, ground command will be through a 3.6 kbps telemetry link. Total mission cost will be $51 million (in 1992 dollars). After launch, the Lunar Prospector will have a 110 hour cruise to the Moon, followed by insertion into a 100 km alttitude circular lunar polar orbit with a period of 118 minutes.

Scientific Investigations

Gamma Ray Spectrometer (GRS) - G. Scott Hubbard, NASA Ames Neutron Spectrometer (NS) - William Feldman, Los Alamos The GRS and NS will return global data on elemental abundances, which will be used to help understand the evolution of lunar highland crust and the duration and extent of basaltic volcanism, and to assess lunar resources. The NS will also locate any significant quantities of water whcih may exist in the permanently shadowed areas near the lunar poles.

Magnetometer (MAG) - Mario Acuna, NASA Goddard; Lon Hood, Univ. of Arizona LPL Electron Reflectometer (ER) - Robert Lin, UC Berkley SSL The MAG/ER experiments will return data on the lunar crustal magnetic field and the lunar induced magnetic dipole. These data will help provide an understanding of the origin of lunar paleomagnetism and the Degree to which impacts can produce paleomagnetism, and allow constrains on the size and composition of the (possible) lunar core.

Alpha Particle Spectrometer (APS) - Alan Binder, Lockheed - The APS instrument will be used to find radon outgassing events on the lunar surface by detecting alpha particles from the radon gas itself and its decay product, polonium. Observations of the frequency and locations of the gas release events will help characterize one possible source of the tenuous lunar atmosphere. Determination of the relationship of outgassing sites with crater age and tectonic features may be possible. This may in turn be used to characterize the current level of lunar tectonic activity.

Doppler Gravity Experiment (DGE) - Alex Konopliv, NASA JPL - This investigation will use Doppler tracking of S-band radio signals to characterize the spacecraft orbit and determine the lunar gravity field. This data will provide information on the lunar interior and, combined with lunar topographic data, will allow modelling of the global crustal asymmetry, crustal structure, and subsurface basin structure. It can also be used for planning future lunar missions.

Lunar Prospector Project Management

Principal Investigator - Alan Binder, Lockheed
Project Manager - D.J. Tenerelli, Lockheed
Program Manager - G. Scott Hubbard, NASA Ames
Ground Based Tracking - Allied Signal

The Lunar Prospector mission has been selected by NASA for full development and construction as part of NASA's Discovery program.

Lunar Prospector

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