Economic Geology of Lunar and Asteroid Resources Seminar: Feb 10

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Lecturer: Kevin Cannon, University of Central Florida

Dr. Kevin Cannon is a planetary scientist and postdoc at the University of Central Florida, coming from Brown University where he earned his Ph.D. in Earth, Environmental and Planetary Sciences.

His research interests include the formation and evolution of planetary materials, remote sensing using visible and near-infrared spectroscopy, and space resources & space development. Dr. Cannon is actively involved in work with private space companies to develop architectures for asteroid and lunar mining activities.

He also founded the Exolith Lab, the world’s foremost laboratory for producing and distributing regolith simulants. These materials are being used for a host of applications including extracting and processing space resources.

Topic: Lunar Polar Water Deposits

Recorded Talk:

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The illumination and topography at the lunar poles create significant areas having temperatures cold enough to trap and preserve water ice and other volatile species. This was recognized as far back as the 60’s (Watson et al., 1961), and since then a variety of mostly orbital mission has used different techniques to try and infer or detect water ice. While much of the evidence is muddled and controversial, the results from LCROSS and M3 in particular provide the most definitive detections of a small amount (~5 wt.%) of ice mixed in with the regolith (Colaprete et al. 2010; Li et al. 2018). More tenuous evidence hints at the potential for thicker, more Mercury-like deposits buried beneath the surface.

In this seminar we will: (1) critically review the evidence for how much ice exists and what physical form it might be present in; (2) look ahead to future lunar missions and what they can add to this picture; and (3) discuss a geologic model for ice deposit formation, as well as potential mining architectures and ground-based prospecting methods.

Readings (Required for UCF students) :

Click links for PDFs

Lawrence, 2016. A tale of two poles: Toward understanding the presence, distribution, and origin of volatiles at the polar regions of the Moon and Mercury. JGR Planets.

Fa and Eke, 2018. Unravelling the Mystery of Lunar Anomalous Craters Using Radar and Infrared Observations. JGR Planets.

Rubanenko et al. 2019. Thick ice deposits in shallow simple craters on the Moon and Mercury. Nature Geoscience.

Recommended Readings:

Watson et al. 1961. On the possible presence of ice on the Moon. JGR Planets.

Recorded talk: