Nuclear planetology: Especially concerning the moon and mars

Kyeong Ja Kim*, Nobuyuki Hasebe

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    4 Citations (Scopus)


    To approach basic scientific questions on the origin and evolution of planetary bodies such as planets, their satellites and asteroids, one needs data on their chemical composition. The measurements of gamma-rays, X-rays and neutrons emitted from their surface materials provide information on abundances of major elements and naturally radioactive gamma-ray emitters. Neutron spectroscopy can provide sensitive maps of hydrogen- and carbon-containing compounds, even if buried, and can uniquely identify layers of carbon-dioxide frost. Nuclear spectroscopy, as a means of compositional analysis, has been applied via orbital and lander spacecraft to extraterrestrial planetary bodies: the Moon, Venus, Mars, Mercury and asteroids. The knowledge of their chemical abundances, especially concerning the Moon and Mars, has greatly increased in recent years. This paper describes the principle of nuclear spectroscopy, nuclear planetary instruments carried on planetary missions so far, and the nature of observational results and findings of the Moon and Mars, recently obtained by nuclear spectroscopy.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1313-1380
    Number of pages68
    JournalResearch in Astronomy and Astrophysics
    Issue number10
    Publication statusPublished - 2012 Oct


    • chemical abundance
    • elemental mapping
    • nuclear planetology: planetary remote sensing
    • nuclear science payloads

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Space and Planetary Science
    • Astronomy and Astrophysics


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