The Dynamic Response of the Environment At the Moon (DREAM) team is a lunar environment center consists of 12 expert partners embarking on an advanced study of the surface-gas-plasma environmental systems at the Moon. The team especially examines how solar energy and matter affects the lunar surface (including the effect on surficial water, OH, Na, and other sequestered species), and in the understanding of the response of the surface to this solar energy input. DREAM’s theory-modeling-data validation efforts explore the common linkages between plasma-neutral-surface system and to understand the system response during environmentally-extreme events like a passing solar storm or moderate sized, high velocity impact. DREAM E/PO has a primary focus on advancing the teacher and student understanding of lunar extreme environmental conditions (i.e., the Lunar Extreme Program), such as the lunar surface reaction to solar-created coronal mass ejection and impacts/gas releases.
While the Moon is often considered a stagnant “dead” body, it actually percolates with activity at the submicron and atomic levels; this activity animated by incoming solar energy and matter. In fact, the oxide-rich interface is in constant interaction with its environment, acting as an obstacle to inflowing solar plasma and continually releasing solar-stimulated atomic neutrals. These interactions create a super-surface layering about the Moon containing (1) a plasma interaction region that includes a near-surface plasma sheath and an extended, trailing solar wind plasma wake and (2) a neutral surface boundary exosphere and exo-ionosphere that extends hundreds of miles above the surface (see Figure 1). Apollo-era studies of these two systems revealed their presence and the tantalizing possibility of a complicated and dynamic neutral-ion-volatile-plasma-dust environment.
The DREAM lunar environment center addresses the fundamental question: “How does the highly-variable solar energy and matter incident at the surface interface affect the dynamics of lunar volatiles, ionosphere, plasma, and dust?” To answer this, DREAM has formulated 4 primary science objectives:
1. Advance understanding of the surface release and loss of the neutral gas exosphere over small to large spatial scales and a broad range of driver intensities.
2. Advance understanding of the enveloping plasma interaction region over small to large spatial scales and over a broad range of driver intensities.
3. Identify common links between the neutral and plasma systems and test these linkages by modeling extreme environmental events.
4. Apply this new-found environmental knowledge to guide decision-making for future missions, assess the Moon as an observational platform, and aid in human exploration.
The DREAM lunar environment center provides uninterrupted coherency for its researchers, allows immediate reaction & resource deployment to act on new events and finding, and fosters the spirit of community-level cooperation that extends well beyond the boundaries of its own center.
All total in the DREAM center’s first three program years, the team has submitted 35 science papers to referred journals, provided > 130 talks/presentations at conferences like AGU, Lunar Science Forum, & LPSC, and has mentored over 18 high school and undergraduates via DREAM’s Lunar Extreme Program and GSFC’s Lunar Planetary Space Academy. The team has initiated > 40 lunar-related investigations that interconnect team members, connect across to other NLSI teams, and link to the international lunar community.
Read the team summary report for years 1-3
DREAM Team collaborator Noah Petro has developed a new South Pole-Aitken Basin Landing Site Database. The database website provides a web-based ArcGIS tool for evaluating landing sites within the South Pole-Aitken (SPA) basin. The new database is a valuable resource and a wonderful tool for SPA Basin landing sites analyses.