SysNova – Lunar Challenges Studied in the CDF
The annual SysNova challenge from the Discovery&Preparation Programme (GSP) has been running for 4 years and this year the challenge focused on LUnar Cubesats for Exploration (LUCE).
The SysNova challenge aims to:
- Carry out focused and frequent advanced studies of relevance to the exploration of potential technology needs beyond current ESA programmes.
- To facilitate the involvement of both industrial and research teams in ESA concept and technology assessment work recognizing the critical role of joint studies by industry and academia.
- To foster technology R&D efforts with a goal demonstration mission in the mid- to long-timeframe
- To explore the potential for technology spin-in and increase the awareness of non-space industrial and research actors of ESA’s activities, programmes and priorities.
This year the competition was intense and generated a number of alternative solutions to support ESA’s lunar exploration objectives. Finally the review panel selected two joint winners, both of whom were awarded a CDF study at ESTEC to further advance their design.
The Lunar Meteoroid Impact Observer (LUMIO) mission was proposed by a consortium including Politecnico Di Milano (IT); TU Delft (NL); École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (FR); S[&]T Norway (NO); Leonardo S.p.A (IT); and the University of Arizona (US).
LUMIO is a CubeSat mission to a halo orbit at Earth–Moon L2 that shall observe, quantify, and characterise meteoroid impacts on the Lunar farside by detecting their impact flashes, complementing Earth-based observations on the Lunar nearside, to provide global information on the Lunar Meteoroid Environment and contribute to Lunar Situational Awareness.
The Lunar Volatile and Mineralogy Mapping Orbiter (VMMO) was proposed by a consortium including MPB Communications Inc. (CA); University of Surrey (GB); Lens R&D (NL); and the University of Winnipeg (CA).
VMMO is a CubeSat mission to a low lunar orbit designed to address key unknowns about the distribution of relevant lunar resources and provide guidance for potential future landed missions. Its mission objectives are to:
- Detect water-ice and other volatiles inside and near Shackleton Crater with GSD of about 10 m using the LVMM Active Chemical Lidar at 532 nm and 1560 nm (1064 nm channel option).
- Perform radiation measurements of cis-lunar environment, measuring proton, heavy ion cosmic ray fluxes, accumulated total ionizing dose, instantaneous dose-rate, and lunar albedo protons
Both the LUMIO and VMMO concepts were considered as being extremely innovative, as for the first time CubeSat-based designs have been put forward for advanced applications supporting future human activities on the Moon surface as well as unveiling secrets of its environment.
The CDF studies on LUMIO and VMMO were conducted in the timeframe February/March 2018 and provided the two consortia with essential design elements for the continuation of their activities.