VAPoR - Volatile Analysis by Pyrolysis of Regolith - an instrument for in situ detection of water, noble gases, and organics on the Moon

I. L. ten Kate, E. H. Cardiff, J. P. Dworkin, S. H. Feng, V. Holmes, C. Malespin, J. G. Stern, T. D. Swindle, D. P. Glavin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

17 Scopus citations

Abstract

We present the Volatile Analysis by Pyrolysis of Regolith (VAPoR) instrument design and demonstrate the validity of an in situ pyrolysis mass spectrometer for evolved gas analyses of lunar and planetary regolith samples. In situ evolved gas analyses of the lunar regolith have not yet been carried out and no atmospheric or evolved gas measurements have been made at the lunar poles. VAPoR is designed to do both kinds of measurements, is currently under development at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, and will be able to heat powdered regolith samples or rock drill fines up to 1400 °C in vacuo. To validate the instrument concept, evolved gas species released from different planetary analogs were determined as a function of temperature using a laboratory breadboard. Evolved gas measurements of an Apollo 16 regolith sample and a fragment of the carbonaceous meteorite Murchison were made by VAPoR and our results compared with existing data. The results imply that in situ evolved gas measurements of the lunar regolith at the polar regions by VAPoR will be a very powerful tool for identifying water and other volatile signatures of lunar or exogenous origin as potential resources for future human exploration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1007-1017
Number of pages11
JournalPlanetary and Space Science
Volume58
Issue number7-8
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2010

Keywords

  • Evolved Gas Analysis
  • Lunar Regolith
  • Lunar Volatiles
  • Lunar Water-Ice
  • Mass Spectrometer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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    ten Kate, I. L., Cardiff, E. H., Dworkin, J. P., Feng, S. H., Holmes, V., Malespin, C., Stern, J. G., Swindle, T. D., & Glavin, D. P. (2010). VAPoR - Volatile Analysis by Pyrolysis of Regolith - an instrument for in situ detection of water, noble gases, and organics on the Moon. Planetary and Space Science, 58(7-8), 1007-1017. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pss.2010.03.006