Simeon Barber

Miniaturising instrumentation to fly to the Moon

The European Space Agency (ESA) is funding OU research to develop new payloads for missions to the Moon.

The team led by Dr Simeon Barber is developing a miniature scientific laboratory called ProSPA to search for water on and below the surface of the Moon on a Russian lunar lander.

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Prospect Ion Trap  Mass Spectrometer

Supporting NASA’s return to the Moon

The OU has been selected to support NASA’s return to the Moon.

OU researchers, led by Dr Simeon Barber, are developing an instrument called PROSPECT Ion Trap Mass Spectrometer (PITMS). It will fly to the Moon in 2021 on a commercial lander as part of NASA’s Artemis programme, and will monitor the gaseous environment near to the lunar surface.  

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Simon Sheridan


Dr Simon Sheridan, Research Fellow in the OU’s STEM faculty, is developing LUVMI, a small lightweight rover, being designed to explore polar regions of the Moon. It will drive into a Permanently Shadowed Region (PSR), believed to hold vast stores of water. Instruments carried by the rover will look specifically for this water which may be potentially game-changing for future manned missions to the Moon. In the photo, Dr Sheridan is showing a young attendee at the Royal Society Living on the Moon! exhibition how to drive the Rover.

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Sungwoo Lim

Building on the Moon

A question that all the previous research raises is whether it is possible to live on the Moon.

Dr Sungwoo Lim, OU Research Fellow in Space Sciences, has created a bespoke industrial microwave to melt simulants of lunar soils collected by the Apollo astronauts to see if the microwave heating method is possible to fabricate building components on the Moon.

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Read more about OU research into the Moon

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