Session

Technical Session III: Science/Mission Payloads

Location

Utah State University, Logan, UT

Abstract

Planetary neutron and gamma-ray spectroscopy (NGRS) has become a standard technique to measure distinctive geochemical composition and volatile abundance signatures for key elements relevant to planetary structure and evolution. Previous NGRS measurements have led to the discovery of the concentration of many elements including hydrogen on the Moon, Mars, Mercury, and the asteroids Eros, Vesta, and Ceres, but by utilizing separate NGRS. We have developed the Elpasolite Planetary Ice and Composition Spectrometer (EPICS) instrument, an innovative and combined NGRS with low resource requirements. EPICS incorporates elpasolite scintillator read out by silicon photomultipliers (SiPMs) to provide significant reduction in size, weight, and power, while achieving excellent neutron detection sensitivity and gamma-ray energy resolution as good as 2.9% full-width half-maximum at 662 keV. EPICS is ideally suited to resource constrained missions and is applicable to numerous targets such as the Moon, Mars, and small planetary bodies. An overview of the EPICS instrument and its simulated performance on a few notional missions is presented. We have integrated and done performance testing of a prototype of the EPICS instrument, including optimization of an amplification and summing circuit for a 64-element SiPM array that preserves pulse shape discrimination capability, which will be summarized.

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Aug 1st, 12:00 AM

Development of a Low-Resource Combined Gamma-Ray and Neutron Spectrometer for Planetary Science

Utah State University, Logan, UT

Planetary neutron and gamma-ray spectroscopy (NGRS) has become a standard technique to measure distinctive geochemical composition and volatile abundance signatures for key elements relevant to planetary structure and evolution. Previous NGRS measurements have led to the discovery of the concentration of many elements including hydrogen on the Moon, Mars, Mercury, and the asteroids Eros, Vesta, and Ceres, but by utilizing separate NGRS. We have developed the Elpasolite Planetary Ice and Composition Spectrometer (EPICS) instrument, an innovative and combined NGRS with low resource requirements. EPICS incorporates elpasolite scintillator read out by silicon photomultipliers (SiPMs) to provide significant reduction in size, weight, and power, while achieving excellent neutron detection sensitivity and gamma-ray energy resolution as good as 2.9% full-width half-maximum at 662 keV. EPICS is ideally suited to resource constrained missions and is applicable to numerous targets such as the Moon, Mars, and small planetary bodies. An overview of the EPICS instrument and its simulated performance on a few notional missions is presented. We have integrated and done performance testing of a prototype of the EPICS instrument, including optimization of an amplification and summing circuit for a 64-element SiPM array that preserves pulse shape discrimination capability, which will be summarized.