The lunar poles have hydrated materials in their permanently shadowed regions (PSRs), also known as lunar cold traps. These cold traps exist because of the Moon’s slight tilt of 1.5, which consequently creates these PSRs. In these shadows, the temperature remains cold enough to prevent the sublimation of volatile materials for timescales spanning that of geologic times [Hayne et. al 2015]. PSRs are significant because they create an environment where water ice can exist within the first meter of regolith at the lunar poles, where many cold traps are present. These volatile materials can be observed through a process called neutron spectroscopy. Neutron spectroscopy is a method of observing the neutron interactions caused by galactic and extragalactic cosmic ray proton collisions. Neutron interactions are more sensitive to hydrogen than other elements found in the regolith, and thus are a good indicator of hydrated materials. Using neutron spectroscopy, it is possible to detect the hydrogen in these cold traps up to a meter deep in the regolith, thus detecting the presence of hydrated materials, water, or ice.
For this study, we used the Monte Carlo Neutral Particle Transport Code (MCNP6) to create a homogenous sphere that represented the PSRs on Moon, and then modeled five differing water contents for the lunar regolith ranging from 0-20 percent weight. These percent weights were modeled after the estimates for Shackleton crater, data from Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) mission, and data from Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter (LOLA).
This study was created with the LunaH-Map mission as motivation, seeking to exhibit what neutron data might be observed. The LunaH-Map mission is an array of mini-Neutron Spectrometers that will orbit the Moon 8-20 km away from the lunar surface and map the spatial
distribution of hydrogen at the lunar poles. The plots generated show the relationship between neutron flux and energy from the surface of the Moon as well as from 10km away. This data provides insight into the benefits of collecting orbital data versus surface data, as well as illustrating what LunaH-Map might observe within a PSR.