DEVELOPMENT OF A LOW POWER LOW MASS SMALL AND EASILY DEPLOYABLE PLANETARY BROADBAND MICRO-SEISMOMETER

Research project

Description

PROPOSAL SUMMARY Imaging the interior structure and monitoring real-time changes in stresses of solar system objects, including comets, asteroids, and planets, is a critical next step in improving fundamental knowledge of their formation, evolution, and current state. These are key components of both the NRC Planetary Science 2013-2022 Decadal Survey and the NASA SMD 2007-2016 Science Plan. The most direct method for imaging and monitoring the evolution of interior stresses is through analysis of seismological data. Fundamental new advances in how we image planetary bodies will come only with a major technological advance in a broadband seismometer flight instrument. At present, a robust, low power, low mass, small form factor, and relatively low cost broadband seismometer that can be deployed flexibly across a broad range of mission types does not yet exist. Most importantly, broadband seismic systems should be developed to support many mission classes and applications, and should be designed for a number of different deployment scenarios. To achieve this first-order goal, a next generation seismic instrument must be developed. The effort proposed here is to develop the Integrated Seismic Instrument System (ISIS), a complete broadband microseismometer instrument package, and a small aperture seismic array (SASA) for single mission seismic network system that will be the basis of a flight instrument that can be proposed for a range of solar system missions. ISIS development builds upon our success in developing an innovative new miniaturized sensing element for planetary seismology under a current NASA Planetary Instrument Definition and Development Program (PIDDP) grant. The other components of ISIS are straightforward to develop based on our preliminary results, but require significant parallel efforts to complete a fully integrated instrument. These components include ionic liquid electrolyte, microsensor package development, control electronics, and construction of complete instrument prototypes. ISIS will be brought to TRL 4 by the end of this three-year project. Using the high quality ISIS miniature sensors above, we further seek to develop a SASA configuration for planetary exploration purposes. We will process the design for optimization of array configuration for different target missions. The work includes the simulation of SASA structure, deployment of ISIS sensors in certain field site to optimize the installation procedure, and optimization of integration of ISIS and SASA through data analysis and optimization Development of ISIS and SASA will provide a fundamentally improved advancement in the technical state of seismic instrumentation available for flight opportunities. The proposed single mission seismic network will enable a new generation of missions to effectively and affordably include seismic systems as an integral portion of their payloads. Its design steps far beyond any current flight instrumentation due to its unique and highly desirable combination of characteristics, including low mass, low power usage, shock tolerance, lack of need to level, broadband sensor, and flexibility of deployment. The system will be available for a broad range of missions, enabling seismology to become a fundamental part of many mission sizes and types
StatusFinished
Effective start/end date6/1/146/26/17

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Seismographs
Sensors
Seismology
Solar system
NASA
Imaging techniques
Monitoring
Asteroids
Microsensors
Surface mount technology