Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (25 August 2022)

A NASA priority that is essential to investigating Earth’s natural satellite as well as other objects in the solar system and beyond is finding water and other resources. Unfortunately, because the utilized broadband detectors cannot distinguish between the various volatiles, most technologies do not differentiate between water, free hydrogen ions, and hydroxyl.

According to NASA, Goddard engineer Dr. Berhanu Bulcha said a type of instrument called a heterodyne spectrometer that could zoom in on particular frequencies to definitively identify and locate water sources on the Moon, granted it has a stable, high-powered, terahertz laser. The tiny device he developed capitalizes on quantum-scale effects of materials just tens of atoms across to generate a high-powered beam in a portion of the spectrum where traditional lasers fade in strength.

 The laser’s low size and power consumption allow it to fit in a 1U CubeSat, about the size of a teapot, along with the spectrometer hardware, processor, and power supply. It could also power a handheld device for use by future explorers on the Moon, Mars, and beyond.

To read the full story, see NASA’s article on it using the link below.


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