Investigating the retention of solar wind implanted Helium-3 on the moon from the analysis of multi-wavelength remote sensing data

Shashwat Shukla, Valentyn Tolpekin, Shashi Kumar, Alfred Stein*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Abstract

The Moon has a large potential for space exploration and mining valuable resources. In particular, 3He provides rich sources of non-radioactive fusion fuel to fulfill cislunar and Earth’s energy demands, if found economically feasible. The present study focuses on developing advanced techniques to prospect 3He resources on the Moon from multi-sensor remote sensing perspectives. It characterizes optical changes in regolith materials due to space weathering as a new retention parameter and introduces a novel machine learning inversion model for retrieving the physical properties of the regolith. Our analysis suggests that the reddening of the soil predominantly governs the retention, along with attenuated mafic band depths. Moreover, semi-variograms show that the spatial variability of 3He is aligned with the episodic weathering events at different timescales. We also observed that pyroclastic regoliths with high dielectric constant and increased surface scattering mechanisms exhibited a 3He abundant region. For ejecta cover, the retention was weakly associated with the dielectric contrast and a circular polarization ratio (CPR), mainly because of the 3He-deficient nature of the regolith. Furthermore, cross-variograms revealed inherent cyclicity attributed to the sequential process of weathering effects. Our study provides new insights into the physical nature and near-surface alterations of lunar regoliths that influence the spatial distribution and retention of solar wind implanted 3He.
Original languageEnglish
Article number3350
Pages (from-to)1-24
Number of pages24
JournalRemote sensing
Volume12
Issue number20
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 14 Oct 2020

Keywords

  • ITC-GOLD
  • ITC-ISI-JOURNAL-ARTICLE

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