Earth, Moon, and Planets

, Volume 107, Issue 1, pp 25–42 | Cite as

Lunar Beagle and Lunar Astrobiology

  • Everett K. Gibson
  • Colin T. Pillinger
  • Lester J. Waugh


The study of the elements and molecules of astrobiological interest on the Moon can be made with the Gas Analysis Package (GAP) and associated instruments developed for the Beagle 2 Mars Express Payload. The permanently shadowed polar regions of the Moon may offer a unique location for the “cold-trapping” of the light elements (i.e. H, C, N, O, etc.) and their simple compounds. Studies of the returned lunar samples have shown that lunar materials have undergone irradiation with the solar wind and adsorb volatiles from possible cometary and micrometeoroid impacts. The Beagle 2’s analytical instrument package including the sample processing facility and the GAP mass spectrometer can provide vital isotopic information that can distinguish whether the lunar volatiles are indigenous to the moon, solar wind derived, cometary in origin or from meteoroids impacting on the Moon. As future Lunar Landers are being considered, the suite of instruments developed for the Mars Beagle 2 lander can be consider as the baseline for any lunar volatile or resource instrument package.


Lunar astrobiology Beagle 2 Lunar beagle Volatiles Polar volatiles Lunar exosphere Solar wind 



The authors would like to recognize the assistance and support of their respective organizations. The Science Mission Directorate (SMD) of NASA Headquarters who funded the Lunar Science Sortie Opportunity (LSSO) Concept Study is recognized for their foresight in recognizing the need for technical and scientific study of future lunar scientific investigations (Gibson et al. 2009). The Astromaterials Research and Space Exploration (ARES) Directorate of the Johnson Space Center has provided leadership through the scientific analyses of lunar and extraterrestrial materials over the past five decades and has allowed interactions with colleagues carrying out state of the art research. The Planetary Sciences and Space Research Institute of the Open University has developed cutting edge scientific instruments for laboratory analyses and spacecraft hardware which has been sent to the outer reaches of our solar system. EADS Astrium personnel are acknowledged as leaders in the development of payloads for space exploration and satellite technology. Funding for the Concept Study “Beagle to the Moon in Search of Hydrogen, Water and Volatiles” submitted by Everett Gibson was provided by the SMD of NASA Headquarters. Financial support from the Planetary Sciences and Space Research Institute (PSSRI) of the Open University is acknowledged. The engineering, technical and financial support of EADS Astrium, Stevenage is sincerely appreciated. Matthew Stuttard and Justin Byrne are especially recognized for their support of the Lunar Beagle Concept study. The German Space Agency (DLR) is recognized for their support of the lunar mole studies. The Intellectual Property, with respect to information supplied herein, remains vested with the UK PI and the Beagle Team. The manuscript could not have been completed without the tireless efforts of Karen Guyler, of the PSSRI.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. (Outside the USA) 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Everett K. Gibson
    • 1
  • Colin T. Pillinger
    • 2
  • Lester J. Waugh
    • 3
  1. 1.KR, Astromaterials Research OfficeNASA Johnson Space CenterHoustonUSA
  2. 2.Planetary and Space Sciences Research Institute (PSSRI)The Open UniversityMilton KeynesUK
  3. 3.EADS Astrium Ltd.StevenageUK

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