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Kiruna, 2014-02-13


Kiruna-built instrument to land on the lunar surface

Principal Investigator Martin Wieser with parts of the XSAN flight model in IRF's integration room (Photo: IRF)
Principal Investigator Martin Wieser with parts of the XSAN flight model in IRF's integration room (Photo: IRF)

In 2016 the Russian lander Luna-glob will land on the surface of the Moon. On board the lander is a small instrument XSAN (eXtra Small Analyzer for Neutrals) developed and built at the Swedish Institute of Space Physics (IRF). If everything goes as planned, XSAN will be the first ever Swedish-built instrument to land on the surface of another celestial body.

The Moon does not have an atmosphere and the space plasma directly interacts with the lunar surface. Hydrogen in space plasmas may interact with oxygen in the lunar minerals, this reaction will build the tenious amount of water detected in the lunar surface. XSAN, which will study how the space plasma interacts with the surface, will be instrumental in answering the question on the origin of the lunar water.

In February 2014 the project passed a very important milestone. The team at IRF-Kiruna formally delievered the first two models of the instrument to the Russian colleagues. One model will be used to verify mechanics and the second model to verify the thermal design of the sensor. In March 2014, the Russian team will come to Kiruna again for delivery of the next XSAN model, so called electrical model to be used in electrical tests.

"We are very excited about this project," says Martin Wieser, Principal Investigator of XSAN."The measurements XSAN will perform on the lunar surface have never before been attempted. We are waiting for something unexpected."

For more information contact:

• Dr. Martin Wieser, IRF Kiruna, tel. +46-980-79198,
• Prof. Stas Barabash, IRF Kiruna, tel. +46-980-79122,

2014-02-13, webmaster*

The Swedish Institute of Space Physics (IRF) is a governmental research institute which conducts research and postgraduate education in atmospheric physics, space physics and space technology. Measurements are made in the atmosphere, ionosphere, magnetosphere and around other planets with the help of ground-based equipment (including radar), stratospheric balloons and satellites. IRF was established (as Kiruna Geophysical Observatory) in 1957 and its first satellite instrument was launched in 1968. The head office is in Kiruna (geographic coordinates 67.84° N, 20.41° E) and IRF also has offices in Umeå, Uppsala and Lund.