SUDA: A SUrface Dust Analyser for compositional mapping of the Galilean moon Europa

LASP Science Seminars

SUDA: A SUrface Dust Analyser for compositional mapping of the Galilean moon Europa

Sascha Kempf
November 30, 2023
4:00 PM MT/MST

The Surface Dust Analyser (SUDA) is a dust impact mass spectrometer onboard the Europa Clipper mission for investigating the surface composition of the Galilean moon Europa.  The instrument is a Time-of-Flight (TOF) impact mass spectrometer derived from previously flown dust compositional analyzers on Giotto, Stardust, and Cassini.  SUDA uses the technology of the successful Cosmic Dust Analyzer (CDA) operating on Cassini and employs advanced reflectron-type ion optics for increased mass resolution. The instrument will measure the mass, speed, charge, and elemental and isotopic composition of impacting grains..


Atmosphereless planetary moons such as the Galilean satellites are wrapped into a ballistic dust exosphere populated by tiny samples from the moon’s surface produced by impacts of fast micrometeoroids.  SUDA will measure the composition of such surface ejecta during close flybys at Europa to obtain key chemical constraints for revealing the satellite’s composition, history, and geological evolution.  Because of their ballistic orbits, detected ejecta can be traced back to the surface with a spatial resolution roughly equal to the instantaneous altitude of the spacecraft..


SUDA will detect a wide variety of compounds from Europa’s surface over a concentration range of percent to ppm and connect them to their origin on the surface.  This allows simultaneous compositional mapping of many organic and inorganic components, including both major and trace compounds, with a single instrument.  Any recent tectonic activity, cryovolcanism, or resurfacing event is detectable by variations in the surface composition.  This can be linked to corresponding geological features, including the analysis of compositional variations across large craters on Europa.  SUDA will further the understanding of how Europa’s surface couples to its interior source regions..


In my talk, I will discuss SUDA’s unique capabilities to collect compositional ground truth from orbit and how SUDA contributes to the Europa Clipper science goals.

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