The Lunar Polar Hydrogen Mapper CubeSat Mission

Craig Hardgrove, Richard Starr, Igor Lazbin, Alessandra Babuscia, Bob Roebuck, Joe Dubois, Nathaniel Struebel, Anthony Colaprete, Darrell Drake, Erik Johnson, James Christian, Lena Heffern, Steve Stem, Sean Parlapiano, Mitchel Wiens, Anthony Genova, David Dunham, Derek Nelson, Bobby Williams, Jeremy BaumanPatrick Hailey, Tyler Obrien, Kabir Marwah, Logan Vlieger, James Bell, Tom Prettyman, Teri Crain, Ernest Cisneros, Nathan Cluff, Graham Stoddard, Meghan Kaffine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


The Lunar Polar Hydrogen Mapper (LunaH-Map) mission will map the distribution of hydrogen around the lunar South Pole using a miniature neutron spectrometer. The mission builds upon a decade of lunar science, which has revealed both regional and more localized enrichments of water ice near the lunar poles. Localized enrichments are primarily within permanently shadowed regions (PSRs) and craters throughout the South Pole. The spatial extent of these regions is often below the resolution of previous neutron instruments that have flown on lunar missions. The neutron leakage spectrum from planetary surfaces is primarily sensitive to hydrogen abundance in the top meter of regolith, however, for neutron spectrometers with omnidirectional sensitivity, the spatial resolution is limited by the spacecraft orbital altitude above the surface. A low altitude measurement from a distance on the same scale of the PSRs could spatially isolate and constrain the hydrogen enrichments both within and around within those regions. A small spacecraft mission is ideally suited to acquire the low-altitude measurements required to localize hydrogen enrichments using neutron spectroscopy at the lunar South Pole. LunaH-Map will use a solid iodine ion propulsion system, X-Band radio communications through the NASA Deep Space Network, star tracker, Command & Data Handling System, and EPS systems from Blue Canyon Technologies, solar arrays from MMA Designs, LLC, mission design and navigation by KinetX. Spacecraft systems design, integration, qualification, test, and mission operations are performed by Arizona State University, AZ Space Technologies and Qwaltec.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number9076195
Pages (from-to)54-69
Number of pages16
JournalIEEE Aerospace and Electronic Systems Magazine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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