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RIS4E | The Remote, In Situ, and Synchrotron Studies for Science and Exploration

The RIS4E team consists of leading researchers at a variety of institutions, each of which brings unique capabilities and talents to the team, ranging from laboratory analysis to field studies.
By working to improve comparative measurements between samples and the surface of airless bodies, studying how we will one day safely explore those surfaces, and maximizing our measurements of all samples, especially small, precious returned samples, RIS4E will produce a wealth of information and a team of well-trained next generation scientists.The Remote, In Situ, and Synchrotron Studies for Science and Exploration (RIS4E) team, led by Professor Timothy Glotch of Stony Brook University, is one of nine nodes of NASA’s Solar System Exploration and Research Virtual Institute (SSERVI). Our team will address key aspects of the science and exploration of airless bodies in the Solar System, which include the Moon, Near Earth Asteroids (NEAs), and the moons of Mars.

Theme 1: Preparation for Exploration

Theme 1 | Preparation for Exploration

Remote sensing provides global data that allows scientists to determine the best locations for exploration and identify where samples should be collected. Temperature responses and space weathering of airless bodies greatly complicate remote sensing data. The RIS4E team will conduct laboratory and theoretical studies to better understand how these factors influence remote sensing data.

Theme 2: Maximizing Exploration Opportunities

Theme 2 | Maximizing Exploration Opportunities

Field work will help us evaluate the role of handheld and portable field instruments for future human exploration. These advances will quickly inform astronauts about where to go and which samples to select. This field work will also improve our understanding of how exploration plans based on available remote sensing data are implemented and revised in the field.

Theme 3: Protecting our Explorers

Theme 3 | Protecting our Explorers

Future astronauts will be exposed to harsh environments with potentially harmful but unknown health effects. The RIS4E team will perform experiments to determine the reactivity and toxicity of lunar analog materials, as well as lunar and chondritic samples.

Theme 4: Preparation for Exploration:

Theme 4 | Maximizing Science from Returned Samples

The National Synchrotron Light Source II at Brookhaven National Laboratory will be open to conduct experiments in 2014. This next-generation light source will provide unparalleled chemical and mineralogical analysis of precious lunar and primitive materials (including future returned samples). A picometer-resolution transmission electron microscope at the Naval Research Laboratory will provide highly complementary ultra-high resolution imaging and spectroscopic information.

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