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An experimental and data analysis investigation into the trapped gases and non-ice material in the surfaces of the outer planets icy satellites and our Moon

EMSL Project ID


We propose to continue to investigate the role of physisorption in explaining the presence of volatiles gases (specifically CO2, CH4, and possibly others) in the upper surfaces of icy satellites in the outer Solar System and as a potential mechanism of concentrating volatile resources in permanently shadowed regions on the Moon. This research relates directly to two of the highest NASA priorities for the exploration of the Solar System and will provide new fundamental knowledge on the transport of gases in extremely desiccated and low pressure environments. The results of our first year of exploratory research are very promising and have resulted in several publications in international scientific meetings and a peer-reviewed journal and have enabled us to secure grant funding from NASA to continue this work. Successful completion of the NASA project depends entirely upon access to the EMSL facilities and the continuation of this so far very successful line of research.

Project Details

Project type
Large-Scale EMSL Research
Start Date
End Date


Principal Investigator

Charles Hibbitts
Johns Hopkins University

Team Members

Janos Szanyi
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory