2005 Salt Lake City Annual Meeting (October 16–19, 2005)

Paper No. 3
Presentation Time: 8:55 AM


LAWRENCE, David J.1, ELPHIC, Richard C.1, FELDMAN, William C.1, GASNAULT, Olivier2, HAGERTY, Justin J.1, LAWSON, Stefanie1, MAURICE, Sylvestre2 and PRETTYMAN, Thomas H.1, (1)Space Science and Applications, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Group ISR-1, Mail Stop D466, Los Alamos, NM 87545, (2)Centre d’Etude Spatiale des Rayonnements, Toulouse, 31400, France, djlawrence@lanl.gov

The Lunar Prospector (LP) spacecraft is the most recent NASA mission to fly to the Moon. The LP spacecraft carried three Los Alamos built spectrometers – the gamma-ray, neutron, and alpha particle spectrometers – that were designed to measure the global composition of the lunar surface. While interpretation of data from these instruments is ongoing, some of the major results from these instruments are 1) the positive identification of enhanced hydrogen abundances at the lunar poles, which is thought to be in the form of water ice; 2) the full delineation of the composition asymmetry known as the Procellarum KREEP Terrane; 3) the first global maps of the major mineral forming elements; and 4) the identification of contemporary gas release events on the lunar nearside near Aristarchus and Kepler craters. LP data have also been used in conjunction with other orbital and sample datasets for various data integration studies. We anticipate similar such studies will be increasingly used in the near future with upcoming missions to further enhance lunar exploration. LP data have also enabled the identification of specific locations on the Moon that are significantly different from the sites of the Apollo and Luna landings and could be attractive locations for future landing sites. In addition to the hydrogen anomalies at the poles, we have evidence for locations with evolved non-mare volcanism as well as large regions of mare basalt having compositions significantly different than any known samples. Finally, despite the success of the LP instruments, these data do have limitations in both spatial resolution and precision. We will discuss how improvements can be made for future measurements, both from orbit and on the surface.