Can Solar Wind Volatiles Survive the Daily Heat Cycle of a Lunar Pit?

Monday, 15 December 2014: 9:12 AM
Michael I Zimmerman1, Dana Hurley1 and Ben Bussey2, (1)Applied Physics Laboratory Johns Hopkins, Laurel, MD, United States, (2)Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, MD, United States
Lunar pits and hypothesized lava tubes could provide shelter from solar wind, radiation, and extreme heat variations during a future mission to the Moon. We employ three-dimensional finite-volume heating simulations using realistic surface geometries, solar illumination, and radiative transfer to characterize the quasisteady daily heat cycle within a lunar pit, with and without occluded subsurface regions such as lava tubes. Two-dimensional plasma simulations characterize the flow of solar wind ions onto the hottest illuminated surfaces. Combining the plasma and heat environments enables a highly detailed assessment of volatile stability within pits of different shapes, sizes, and latitudes.