LIST among asteroid science players in Luxembourg

Published on 25/04/2018

On 16 – 17 April 2018, the Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST) came together with Asteroid entrepreneurs and researchers at the second edition of the ASIME conference 2018 (Asteroid Science Intersections with In-Space Mine Engineering) that took place at the University of Luxembourg on Belval Campus.

The event’s main focus was on the topic of asteroid composition, in particular asteroid composition from remote-sensing observations and Earth-based spectral observations, as well as, asteroid rendez-vous and sample return missions. Other topics discussed at the conference were the exploitation of space resources and exploration of outer space and space mining possibilities. 

BRINGING TOGETHER THE PRIVATE AND PUBLIC SECTORS

ASIME 2018 started with an introductory presentation by Amara L. Graps, scientific organizer of the conference, followed by an opening speech by Luxembourg’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy, Étienne Schneider.

Minister Schneider spoke about Luxembourg’s economic development strategy being reinvented constantly to stay competitive internationally, with the space resources and space mining industry, being the new economic activity, to diversify the economy of Luxembourg for the years to come. “When I became Minister of the Economy back in 2012, I was thinking how can we develop a new economic activity that is not yet developed by everybody else… I was convinced that this is the new economy which will be developed over the years to come” said Étienne Schneider.

In his ensuing presentation, Yves Elsen, Chairman of the Board of Governors University of Luxembourg, elaborated on the advantages of Luxembourg’s research community and the high interest it displays in working together with the private sector. “Luxembourg’s government works with the investment community to make things happen that wouldn’t happen otherwise” he said. Presentations by Marc Schiltz Director of Luxembourg National Research Fund (FNR) and Patrick Michel as well as several industry experts followed.

LIST’S ROLE IN EXPLORING ASTEROIDS

LIST is currently working on adapting its existing mass spectrometers to space exploration, by building even smaller and lighter instruments that could eventually serve as “material identifiers” on space missions. The portable mass spectrometers currently existing at LIST, is a very compact spectrometer for hydrology application, which allows for the analysis of the hydrogen and the oxygen particles in water sources on earth. Once made space-ready, LIST’s mass spectrometers could be used for similar purposes on the moon or on asteroids. 

“The ASIME 2018 conference was a good opportunity to look for new applications, especially with our focus on asteroid and lunar explorations” said Veneranda Lopez Dias, Post-Doctoral Researcher at LIST.

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