NASA to Use Polychromix Spectrometers in Lunar Ice Search
Polychromix Inc. of Wilmington, Mass., a developer of spectroscopy devices, announced it will collaborate with NASA to provide Digital Transform Spectrometers (DTS) for determining water content on the surface of the moon. NASA will outfit the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite's (LCROSS) research vehicle used to search for ice at the moon's south pole with Polychromix near-infrared (NIR) spectrometers. NASA's search for lunar ice, which astronauts could drink and convert to rocket fuel, is designed to settle an intense debate in the astrophysics community. The LCROSS mission involves dropping a payload at the pole to produce a material cloud that can be analyzed for water content. Polychromix introduced their spectrometers, powered by MEMS (microelectromechanical systems) technology, one year ago. Key applications for the devices include quality control, recycling, pharmaceuticals and other test and measurement uses.