Szalay, Jamey - LADEE/LDEX Observations of Meteor Streams at the Moon

The lunar surface in continually bombarded by meteoroids from a variety of sources. Upon impacting the lunar surface, each meteoroid can produce ejecta plumes with hundreds of times more mass than the incoming meteoroid, lofted 10’s to 100’s of km above the lunar surface. The Lunar Dust Experiment (LDEX) onboard the LADEE mission measures the response of the lunar surface to meteoroid bombardment. For their brief duration, meteor streams can deliver higher impactor fluxes than the continual bombardment by the sporadic background of interplanetary dust particles. During peak shower times, the dust production from the surface can dramatically increase. Of all known meteor showers during the LADEE mission, the Geminids produced the strongest lunar response, for which LDEX observed significantly enhanced fluxes with a strong clustering near the point of maximal Geminids flux on the lunar surface. This talk will present a comparison of the meteor shower activity with the intermittently observed, unusually high impact rates recorded by LDEX.
We also report on the differences in the physical properties of the ejecta particles generated during meteor streams and from the sporadic background. Characterizing the response of the lunar environment to known meteor streams will help identify unknown meteor streams in future missions to airless solar system bodies. This will aid in improving hazard estimates were an LDEX-type instrument to fly to future human exploration targets.