The variations of neutron component of lunar radiation background from LEND/LRO observations

M. L. Litvak, I. G. Mitrofanov, A. B. Sanin, B. N. Bakhtin, J. G. Bodnarik, William V. Boynton, G. Chin, L. G. Evans, K. Harshman, T. A. Livengood, A. Malakhov, M. I. Mokrousov, T. P. McClanahan, R. Sagdeev, R. Starr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

Lunar neutron flux data measured by the Lunar Exploration Neutron Detector (LEND) onboard NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) were analyzed for the period 2009-2014. We have re-evaluated the instrument's collimation capability and re-estimated the neutron counting rate measured in the Field of View (FOV) of the LEND collimated detectors, and found it to be 1.0±0.1counts per second. We derived the spectral density of the neutron flux for various lunar regions using our comprehensive numerical model of orbital measurements. This model takes into account the location of the LEND instrument onboard LRO to calculate the surface leakage neutron flux and its propagation to the instrument detectors. Based on this we have determined the lunar neutron flux at the surface to be ~2neutrons/[cm2 sec] in the epithermal energy range, 0.4eV to 1keV. We have also found variations of the lunar neutron leakage flux with amplitude as large as a factor of two, by using multi-year observations to explore variations in the Galactic Cosmic Ray (GCR) flux during the 23rd-24th solar cycles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPlanetary and Space Science
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Dec 10 2014

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Keywords

  • LEND
  • Moon
  • Neutrons

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics

Cite this

Litvak, M. L., Mitrofanov, I. G., Sanin, A. B., Bakhtin, B. N., Bodnarik, J. G., Boynton, W. V., ... Starr, R. (Accepted/In press). The variations of neutron component of lunar radiation background from LEND/LRO observations. Planetary and Space Science. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pss.2016.01.006