Although it’s understood that water ice exists below the lunar regolith (broken rock and dust), scientists don’t yet know whether surface ice frost covers the floors inside cold, dark craters. NASA is sending Lunar Flashlight, a small satellite (or SmallSat) no larger than a briefcase to find out. The mission, which will use lasers to shed light on those dark craters, will launch in mid-November aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. Lunar Flashlight will be operated by Georgia Tech with its data set to be studied by the REVEALS (Radiation Effects on Volatiles and Exploration of Asteroids and Lunar Surfaces) Lab, a collaborative effort involving students and researchers from the Colleges of Sciences and Engineering. Thomas Orlando, professor in the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry, and an adjunct professor in the School of Physics, is the principal investigator with REVEALS.
NASA’s Lunar Flashlight Ready to Search for Water Ice on the Moon