Moon compact satellite for hazard assessment (MOOCHA) - Proposing an international Earth-Moon small satellite constellation

Alexandros Binios, Fiona Leverone, Hector Andreas Stavrakakis, Nandinbaatar Tsog, Sean Haslam, Janis Dalbins, Rusne Ivaškeviciute-Povilauskiene, Ayush Jain, Maarit Keskinen, Joosep Kivastik, Juuso Mikkola, Ervin Oro, Laura Ruusmann, Janis Sate, Karin Pai, Wolf Geppert, Jaan Praks, René Laufer*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientific


The recent developments in space exploration have reinstated the Moon as a primary target for near future space missions. The principal reasons include the Moon being the closest test bed and analogue for planetary space missions and the prospect of scientific lunar bases and orbital stations within the next decade. Previous space missions have vastly improved our understanding on hazards of human spaceflights but not fully regarding the threats affecting a prospective lunar base or orbital station. The micrometeorite hazard has been partially addressed as an issue which can potentially impact both astronauts' health and safety as well as create issues for lunar bases and orbital stations, such as degradation or permanent damage of equipment and facilities. The current understanding is based partly on dust and micrometeoroid flux measurements and impact flash observations. However, observations with improved spatial and temporal resolution are imperative for advancing existing hazard models. In this paper, a mission concept of a constellation of nanosatellites is proposed that can both observe larger parts of cis-lunar and trans-lunar space while providing higher temporal resolution. Nanosatellite missions are a cost-effective solution providing data for significant improvement of our current understanding of lunar micrometeoroid flux models, and thus directly the scale of hazards caused by micrometeoroid impacts to future lunar missions. Additionally, such a distributed constellation mission will offer countless opportunities for academia, students and young scientists worldwide. The mission concept (Moon Compact Satellite for Hazard Assessment - MOOCHA) is a result of the Nordic-European Astrobiology Campus Summer School 2018 themed “Microsatellites in Planetary and Atmospheric Research” and was further developed during the 2019 follow-up summer school “Design of Small Satellite Missions for Planetary Studies”, both taking place in Tartu, Estonia and co-organized by the Stockholm University Astrobiology Centre, the University of Tartu, the European Astrobiology Campus and the Nordic Network of Astrobiology and supported by European Union's European Regional Development Fund and Estonia.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the International Astronautical Congress
PublisherInternational Astronautical Federation, IAF
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019
MoE publication typeB3 Non-refereed article in conference proceedings
EventInternational Astronautical Congress - Washington, United States
Duration: 21 Oct 201925 Oct 2019
Conference number: 70

Publication series

NameProceedings of the International Astronautical Congress
PublisherInternational Astronautical Federation, IAF
ISSN (Print)0074-1795
ISSN (Electronic)1995-6258


ConferenceInternational Astronautical Congress
Abbreviated titleIAC
Country/TerritoryUnited States


  • Cis-Lunar
  • International Moon Fleet
  • Lunar Micrometeoroid Flux
  • Lunar Micrometeoroid Hazard Assessment for Crewed Missions and Equipment
  • Moon Compact Satellite
  • Moon CubeSat
  • Trans-Lunar Satellite Platform


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