Mike Suopys
April 10, 2020
2:17 p.m. PDT

Lunar Enviroment: Radiation at the lunar surface?


The challenge overview talked a lot about the requirements for collecting prospecting information about mineral resources, but barely touched on measuring radiation on the moon's surface.

I would like to know:
- What type of radiation the research team is interested in?
- What do we already know about radiation around the moon?
- What kind of detector will contribute new data to lunar exploration?

I think I already guess of what you are interested in (but would like some reassurance): Cosmic rays and solar events. With most of the harmful radiation being HZE (High Atomic Number Energy) ions.

Here is some detectors already built for that purpose:
Search for "Compact Full-Filed Ion Detector System For CubeSat" into google.

So, what's wrong with using those types of detectors in the payload?

Thank you,
- Mike Suopys
7 Replies

Ryan Smith
April 13, 2020
12:45 p.m. PDT
Just as a note, the CFIDS instrument is designed for a 6U cubesat, so would be 12 times too big.

I think we have to come up with innovative ideas that we want to research, and would help future missions. They don't want a specific instrument.


Mike Suopys
April 13, 2020
1:18 p.m. PDT
I see.

Can someone clarify what the team wants regarding to the "Lunar Enviroment: Radiation at the lunar surface" problem? I have a few ideas that would cut back on space and weight, but I don't know if it meets their criteria.


Kyla Jeffrey HeroX team
April 14, 2020
5:21 p.m. PDT
@Mike Suopys
Hi Mike, you have done a good job of guessing what NASA is interested in. If you would like to propose one of the many detectors out there, that is great.
Tagged: Mike Suopys

Mike Suopys
April 14, 2020
5:57 p.m. PDT
Ok. Thanks.

However, I don't have access to any special lab or equipment to build a working prototype with sophisticated detectors and lunar grade electronics, but I do have my ideas on what kind of detector to build.

The required submission material is too much for me. For example, how would I know how much power is consumed by my detector or how much it weighs without building a working prototype? Is there a way I can submit my idea, and NASA's teams can test them out?


Ryan Smith
April 15, 2020
1:42 a.m. PDT
Hi Mike,

I think the key here is the idea, and doing whatever you can to show that the idea is likely to work is going to make the submission stronger. In terms of power draw and weight, most things have datasheets, especially components, and they will tell you things like size, weight and power draw. Start looking and see if you come up with something interesting! You don't need to test it out in person, just have a reasonable idea that it will work.

Mike Suopys
April 15, 2020
7:30 a.m. PDT
OK. I have a few more questions. We've already done research into cosmic radiation and how it interacts with matter for over a half a century, and have already built up a good understanding of what to expect. Cosmic ration occurs independently of the sun's activity, and through the data we've already collecting of it, we can predict how much of it to expect on the moon's surface.

My question is this: Is having a cosmic ray detector (different from the solar radiation detector) really necessary?

However solar radiation is more like the weather on earth; it occurs sporadically and varies in duration. Will it suffice to just build a solar radiation detector?

Ken Burner
June 19, 2020
10:11 p.m. PDT
Heard Luna's happy with her Moon's weather today.
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