Date(s) - 01/31/2024
Caltech - Beckman Auditorium
The Lunar Trailblazer mission is the first of a new type of NASA mission—small satellites for planetary exploration—and follows up on one of the most surprising discoveries of the 2000s: water on the Moon.
In this talk, the mission’s principal investigator, Bethany Ehlmann, professor of planetary science and director of the Keck Institute for Space Studies, will explore Lunar Trailblazer’s pathbreaking goals. From a 100-kilometer-altitude polar orbit, the Lunar Trailblazer spacecraft is designed to simultaneously map the composition, temperature, and physical properties of the lunar surface in order to determine the form, abundance, and distribution of water on the Moon. This includes peering into the permanently shadowed regions within impact craters at the lunar poles to provide maps of lunar water ice. In doing so, Lunar Trailblazer will collect essential data for future human and robotic exploration of the Moon.
Mission operations, which will be supported by scientists and engineers at JPL, will be conducted from the Caltech campus by IPAC with assistance from undergraduates at Caltech and Pasadena City College. Lunar Trailblazer is scheduled to launch as a rideshare with the Intuitive Machines IM-2 lander, a SpaceX launch in mid-2024.
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6:00 pm — Activities and music. Food, drinks, and books available for purchase
7:00 pm — Doors open
7:30 pm — Talk and Q&A
8:30 pm — Post-talk concessions and conversation