Low energy neutral atoms imaging of the Moon

Futaana, Yoshifumi ; Barabash, Stas ; Holmstrom, Mats ; Bhardwaj, Anil (2006) Low energy neutral atoms imaging of the Moon Planetary and Space Science, 54 (2). pp. 132-143. ISSN 0032-0633

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Official URL: http://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S00320...

Related URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pss.2005.10.010


Imaging of low-energy neutral atoms (LENAs) in the vicinity of the Moon can provide wide knowledge of the Moon from the viewpoint of plasma physics and planetary physics. At the surface of the Moon, neutral atoms are mainly generated by photon-stimulated desorption, micrometeorite vaporization and sputtering by solar wind protons. LENAs, the energetic neutral atoms with energy range of 10-500 eV, are mainly created by sputtering of solar wind particles. We have made quantitative estimates of sputtered LENAs from the Moon surface. The results indicate that LENAs can be detected by a realistic instrument and that the measurement will provide the global element maps of sputtered particles, which substantially reflect the surface composition, and the magnetic anomalies. We have also found that LENAs around dark regions, such as the permanent shadow inside craters in the pole region, can be imaged. This is because the solar wind ions can penetrate shaded regions due to their finite gyro-radius and the pressure gradient between the solar wind and the wake region. LENAs also extend our knowledge about the magnetic anomalies and associated mini-magnetosphere systems, which are the smallest magnetospheres as far as one knows. It is thought that no LENAs are generated from mini-magnetosphere regions because no solar wind may penetrate inside them. Imaging such void areas of LENAs will provide another map of lunar magnetic anomalies.

Item Type:Article
Source:Copyright of this article belongs to Elsevier Science.
Keywords:Moon; Energetic Neutral Atoms; Solar Wind; Magnetic Anomaly; Ambipolar Diffusion; Space Weathering
ID Code:2472
Deposited On:08 Oct 2010 07:03
Last Modified:19 Jan 2011 09:28

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