The ADRON neutron and gamma ray detector mounted on the landing module of the Luna-25 rover will irradiate the soil of the Earth’s natural satellite at a depth of about 60 cm to study its composition, Head of the Nuclear Planetology Section at the Space Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences Igor Mitrofanov told TASS on Friday.
"With the help of the neutron generator, we will irradiate the soil to quite a large depth of 60 cm. This is like an X-ray in a hospital: we irradiate with neutrons and get a secondary irradiation spectrum to judge about what is located at this depth," Mitrofanov said.
Russia to start construction of habitable lunar base after 2030
The ADRON will give "an estimate of the content of various chemical elements that are in the soil" and transmit the data to Earth, the researcher said.
The detector was delivered to the customer in winter and is now undergoing comprehensive tests. A similar detector is expected to be eventually mounted on the Luna-27 probe, he said.
The Luna-25 mission aims to launch an automatic probe for exploration of the Moon’s southern pole. The module is expected to land near the Boguslawsky crater.
Head of Russia’s State Space Corporation Roscosmos Dmitry Rogozin said that the Russian Academy of Sciences considered the year 2021 as the optimal time for implementing the project.