University of Maryland
4:30 PM Monday, December 5, 2022
Talk Recording

Mauricio Ayllon Unzueta
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Measuring planetary surface composition with gamma rays and neutrons

Gamma-ray and neutron spectrometers have been used to map the bulk surface elemental composition of planetary objects since the beginning of the era of space exploration. They have played an important role in detecting and then characterizing water ice deposits on our Moon’s permanently shadowed regions, as well as mapping for the first time the elemental distributions across its surface. There are several upcoming missions with both orbital and in-situ nuclear spectrometers such as Dragonfly, Psyche, and MMX. In this seminar, I will give an overview of the principles and characteristics of nuclear spectrometers with a focus on the Dragonfly mission to explore Saturn’s moon Titan and the current work being done at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.