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Nov 17 – 18, 2022
Montreal, Canada - Concordia University Conference Centre
Canada/Eastern timezone

Advanced hybrid sensing system for prospecting on the Moon and Mars

Nov 17, 2022, 3:50 PM
Rooms A&B (Montreal, Canada - Concordia University Conference Centre)

Rooms A&B

Montreal, Canada - Concordia University Conference Centre

John-Molson School of Business
Moving to Mars Workshop: 17-18 November


Richard Boudreault (École Polytechnique)


Mankind has been exploring the Moon and Mars for decades, but our knowledge is being held back by scientific instruments that are unable to collect high-resolution data about a planet’s subsurface composition. The available technologies reveal only partial information about the elemental subsurface composition of planetary bodies; preventing important discoveries of water ice, mineral deposits, caverns, or liquid brine deposits that might be leading indicators of extraterrestrial life.
The Canadian Space Mining Corporation (CSMC) is developing a geophysical prospecting and 3D imaging instrument called Temporal and Impedance Prospecting Sensor (TIPS), which advances the state-of-the-art in planetary exploration. TIPS is a novel design that combines measurements of ultrasound and electrical impedance interacting within the Time-Domain to generate non-invasive tomography. TIPS will be deployed from on-board a mobile platform such as a rover, from which electrodes will contact the surface, measure the behavior of the materials to an impedance current and ultrasonic perturbation, and process the data to deliver 3D tomography of a specific region that can be reconstructed in real-time. The concept of measuring impedance and ultrasound vibrations for imaging is not new, but 3-dimensional imaging using the time-domain signal that segments and filters the data and delimits the elemental composition is an entirely new capability.
TIPS has transformational implications for both scientific and commercial activities in space. Localizing sources of water, for example, is mission-critical for life-support and enabling in-situ resource utilization (ISRU) on the Moon, Mars, and beyond. On the Moon, there are hints of water ice in the low latitudes and more permafrost buried in the regolith near the equator, but strong indications are present in the permanently shadowed craters of the poles. The same is likely true for traces of liquid water on Mars. The electric and sonic response of water is distinct compared to dryer regolith. It is feasible to detect water in a column of about 20 meters in depth with a centimeter resolution. The existence of liquid water at these depths leads to identifying the presence and composition of brines, thereby eliminating wasteful excavations that yield no value or identifying ideal Martian conditions for microbial life that may yield generational advancements in the field of astrobiology. Localizing mineral deposits is another critical application of TIPS, which is able to delimit hydrated sulfates, hematites, and perchlorates. Geotechnical characterization of the subsurface based on the density profile and presence of lava tubes is yet another.
In sum, TIPS is an advance to the state-of-the-art for planetary and resource exploration methods. It provides mission-critical knowledge of the local evolution of geology and of hydrogeology. CSMC expects TIPS to initially support preliminary surveys for sample return missions and deliver more data to determine appropriate landing, settlement, and resource extraction sites on the Moon and Mars. It significantly reduces the overall mission cost while increasing the probability of generational discoveries and mission success.

Primary author

Richard Boudreault (École Polytechnique)


Prof. Pooneh Maghoul (École Polytechnique) Mr gustavo Jamanca-Lino (CSMC) Ms Eckman Elise marie (Cornell University)

Presentation materials