DSU’s Mohammed Amir Khan, professor and director of the Engineer Physics Program, and Yuri Markushin, associate professor, will be leading the three-year project.
Khan and Markushin will design and develop infrared sensing and laser technology for installation on the Lunar Land Rover that will enable the detection and correlation of water isotopes with the characteristics of the elemental composition of lunar rocks and dust.
In layman’s terms, the work will help the rover find potential resources for living creatures.
Khan said he and Markushin will collaborate with the Goddard Space Center in Maryland on the project.
“NASA wants to use the moon to see how humans can live outside of the earth’s environment,” Khan said. “The detection of water isotopes is an important factor in that question.”
The grant is part of a larger $14 million initiative that NASA is investing in U.S. colleges and universities to grow their STEM capacity in order to participate in critical spaceflight research.
The initiative also aims to prepare a new generation of diverse students for careers in the nation’s science, technology, engineering and math workforce.
DSU has been involved with space exploration for some time.
Noureddine Melikechi, a former DSU professor of physics, and Alissa Mezzacappa, then a second-year optics Ph.D. student, played a critical role in the development of the ChemCam technology used on NASA’s Curiosity Rover landed on Mars in 2012 and explored that planet’s surface.
DSU’s science students will be engaged in the different parts of the current project, Khan said, including assisting in the design of the opto-mechanics and electronics of the experiments with the laser prototype.
Raised in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, Jarek earned a B.A. in journalism and a B.A. in political science from Temple University in 2021. After running CNN’s Michael Smerconish’s YouTube channel, Jarek became a reporter for the Bucks County Herald before joining Delaware LIVE News.
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