Can Solar Wind Volatiles Survive the Daily Heat Cycle of a Lunar Pit?
Monday, 15 December 2014: 9:12 AM
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.