, Volume 150, Issue 1-4, pp 161-181
Date: 12 Dec 2009

LAMP: The Lyman Alpha Mapping Project on NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Mission

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Abstract

The Lyman Alpha Mapping Project (LAMP) is a far-ultraviolet (FUV) imaging spectrograph on NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) mission. Its main objectives are to (i) identify and localize exposed water frost in permanently shadowed regions (PSRs), (ii) characterize landforms and albedos in PSRs, (iii) demonstrate the feasibility of using natural starlight and sky-glow illumination for future lunar surface mission applications, and (iv) characterize the lunar atmosphere and its variability. As a byproduct, LAMP will map a large fraction of the Moon at FUV wavelengths, allowing new studies of the microphysical and reflectance properties of the regolith. The LAMP FUV spectrograph will accomplish these objectives by measuring the signal reflected from the night-side lunar surface and in PSRs using both the interplanetary HI Lyman-α sky-glow and FUV starlight as light sources. Both these light sources provide fairly uniform, but faint, illumination. With the expected LAMP sensitivity, by the end of the primary 1-year LRO mission, the SNR for a Lyman-α albedo map should be >100 in polar regions >1 km2, providing useful FUV constraints to help characterize subtle compositional and structural features. The LAMP instrument is based on the flight-proven Alice series of spectrographs flying on the Rosetta comet mission and the New Horizons Pluto mission. A general description of the LAMP instrument and its initial ground calibration results are presented here.