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.
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.
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.
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.