Mission phases: B1
Period: 2011 - 2012
Initial TRL: 2
CSRC contribution: A system study of the combined L-DEPP instrument containing dust analyser, electron/ion analyser, magnetometer, low frequency radio monitor and Langmuir probes. Activities: system engineering study, system electrical architecture, mechanical architecture study, thermal design study, supporting analyses.
The Lunar Lander will be the first European mission to land on the surface of the Moon. Major mission objectives focus on both the demonstration of the technologies critical for soft landing as well as carrying out experiments and investigations relevant to sustaining astronauts on the lunar surface. The current targeted landing sites are located at the South Pole of the Moon. This still unexplored region is a promising destination for future human missions. The ESA Lunar Lander is an exploration mission as the South Pole likely exhibits a very different environment from locations explored to-date by Apollo missions, which landings targeted more equatorial latitudes. There are many indications of significant dust transport processes in the vicinity of the terminator, caused by expected large electric fields that can be produced by the local topography at the light/shadow boundary. Dust represents one of the major hazard factors for lunar exploration as became apparent during Apollo missions. To evaluate its potential impacts for future exploration a complete payload tuned to the measurement of dusty plasmas is necessary as the dust, the charged lunar surface, and the ambient plasma form a closely coupled system.
The proposed Lunar Dust Environment and Plasma Package for Lunar Exploration (L-DEPP) is required to characterize the lunar near surface environment, determine its dynamics caused by external drivers, and evaluate the potential impacts and hazards for future robotic and human exploration. The study also provides an evaluation of different trade-offs between the measurement requirements determined by the desired scientific and observational objectives of the L-DEPP suite and spacecraft resources.