Flight Readiness Development of Miniature Lunar Seismometer Based on Moledular Electronic Transducers

Project: Research project

Project Details


In order to prepare for human exploration and colonization of the Moon and beyond, the safety of the crews must be ensured. There are a number of hazards posed by long term stays on the moon. One major problem, as outlined in NASA Strategic Plan 2006, is a moonquake, which are not only caused from internal events but also external bolide impacts. Further, colonization depends on the long-term stability of construction on both lunar outcroup and regolith, both of which will be in part determined by seismic imaging. Lunar seismometer networks are therefore a critical component toward developing colonies on the Moon. They will play a key role in characterizing the threats faced from these moonquakes, which will help provide a safer location for a long-term outpost, as well as in determining the design of lunar housing in a range of colony scenarios. Many seismometers used in terrestrial applications are expensive, large, heavy, and cannot handle the harsh environment conditions of radiation and daily extreme temperature fluctuations on the moon. Some small, lightweight, commercial seismometers have recently been developed to improve on these problems, but most do not meet lunar sensitivity requirements nor have they been designed to function in an extraterrestrial environment. Arizona State University (PIs Yu, Fouch, Garnero, and Robinson) has partnered with industry collaborator MET Tech to develop a range of seismometers for several different applications. Sensors produced by MET Tech incorporate the use of a molecular electronic transducer (MET). In this proposal, we will utilize state-of-the-art MEMS fabrication techniques to modify their existing seismometer design to produce a batch-fabricated low mass, low-power, seismometer, which meets the requirements of lunar exploration. The seismometers will be tested in harsh environments such as wide range thermal cycles, heavy radiation to verify the function in lunar environments. FORM NRESS-300 Version 2.0 Apr-06-05
Effective start/end date1/1/103/30/11


  • NASA: Johnson Space Center: $69,872.00


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