VORTICES SSERVI Team Summary
The surface and near-surface of a planetary object is host to a wide variety of processes. It is the part of the body that interacts with impacts, solar and galactic energy to create or destroy volatiles, it is the part that we see with remote sensing instruments, and the part that will be sampled and tested by robots and astronauts. The VORTICES team has identified a set of interlocking themes considering the entire regolith-volatile system of the Moon and small planetary objects in the context of science and exploration. These themes are:
1) Volatiles in the Solar System: Sources, Processes, and Sinks: Understand how and where volatiles (e.g., OH and H2O) form, how they interact physically and/or chemically with regolith, how they are transported across and within the regolith, and their ultimate fate – be it sequestration in a cold trap or lost from the body.
2) Regolith: Origin and Evolution on Airless Bodies: Understand how regoliths are formed and evolve, and how those formation and evolution processes vary across the inner solar system.
3) Resources: Identification and Exploitation: Understand how volatile and solar illumination resources are distributed and how they enable robotic and human exploration.
4) Filling Strategic Knowledge Gaps: Understand and address those unknowns in knowledge and technique needed to enable human exploration of the Moon, asteroids and the martian moons.
Ben Bussey is a planetary scientist at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. He earned a BA in Physics from Oxford University and a Ph.D. in planetary geology at University College London before moving to the States. He gained both science and mission experience while working at the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston, the European Space Agency, Northwestern University & the University of Hawaii, before joining the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory where is the Group supervisor of the planetary exploration group.
Ben’s research concentrates on the remote sensing of the surfaces of planets, particularly the Moon. He has a particular interest in the lunar poles, producing the first quantitative illumination maps of the polar regions. He co-authored the Clementine Atlas of the Moon, the first atlas to map both the lunar near side and far side in a systematic manner.
In addition to being PI of a NASA SSERVI team he is also PI of the Mini-RF radar instrument on NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. This instrument, together with the Arecibo observatory, is currently acquiring unique bistatic radar data to search for polar ice deposits.
He enjoys planetary analogue field work and has been fortunate to have twice been part of the ANSMET (Antarctic Search for Meteorites) expedition to recover meteorites from the Antarctic glaciers.