Master of Engineering Science
Electrical and Computer Engineering
Planetary Science and Exploration
As part of the human return to the Moon, there is great scientific interest in exploration of the lunar south pole. A novel dual-sensor multispectral imager has been developed at the University of Western Ontario that can capture images of geological targets in multiple wavelengths, permitting spectral interpretation. This instrument would be mounted to the mast of a future Canadian lunar rover. A proof-of-concept prototype was previously tested.
In this work, the next-generation compact design was developed to withstand the conditions of spaceflight. The design is shown through simulation to survive the launch vibration environment and thermomechanical deformation during the lunar night. To predict the expected temperatures, a lunar regolith thermal model was developed and validated for accuracy at the lunar poles, leveraging newer data from the LRO mission. Finally, a coregistration pipeline for the multispectral data from the instrument was developed and validated for combining data from non-identical sensors.
Summary for Lay Audience
As part of the human return to the Moon, there is great scientific interest in exploration of the lunar south pole. In support of this goal, this work presents the next-generation space-qualified design for the DS-MSI, a novel camera developed at the University of Western Ontario to be mounted to the mast of a future Canadian lunar rover. A multispectral imager can capture images of rocks in several wavelengths of light, allowing their composition to be identified by geologists. Our design contains two different imaging sensor chips so that it can obtain images in a broad range of both visible and infrared light, making it uniquely more capable than comparable instruments on other planetary rovers.
A proof-of-concept prototype was previously built under a Canadian Space Agency program and validated in the laboratory, indoor analog environments, and outdoor conditions. To enable it to operate in space, it is being redesigned to withstand the rigors of spaceflight. Additionally, since it uses two different sensors to obtain an image, a method is required to combine the data so that minerals can be identified in it.
In this work, the new tougher, more compact design is presented. Computer simulations are used to prove that it will survive the vibrations of a rocket launch. In addition, to predict the temperature extremes that the camera must withstand on the Moon's surface, an existing computer model is taken and improved to better simulate the conditions at the lunar south pole. Finally, an algorithm for combining the data from the camera's two sensors is shown to hold promise for completing its science goals.
Sia, Jessica Theia, "Mechanical Subsystem Design and Space Qualification of a Dual-Sensor Multispectral Imager for Lunar Rover Applications" (2023). Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository. 9822.
Available for download on Friday, January 31, 2025