Lunar Polar Volatiles Conference

Lunar Polar Volatiles Conference

The Lunar Polar Volatiles Conference was held from November 2–4, 2022 in Boulder, Colorado. It was organized by the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP) and the Lunar and Planetary Institute (LPI), and included in-person and remote participants from more than 10 countries. A total of 47 people attended in person and over 120 participated remotely, with a significant number of students and early-career scientists.

The meeting focused on understanding the abundance of lunar polar ice in preparation for future missions to the Moon. The first day provided background information and set the main goals for the meeting, and listed outstanding burning questions.

The second day featured presentations on models and observations of surface and subsurface ice, the potential types of cold-trapped volatiles, and the historic evolution of ice in polar cold traps. Notable contributions included discussions on the relationship between deeply buried ice and surface ice and the use of indirect observations, such as those of crater morphology, to understand this link. Other presentations highlighted the importance of combining thermal models with dynamic models of the Moon’s orbital evolution in order to identify the first cold traps, which are the most likely to contain ice, and the importance of defining a “cold trapping criteria,” based on estimates of the loss rate.

The third and final day of the conference focused on future missions and mission concepts to the lunar poles, including the Lunar Flashlight and VIPER missions, which are focused on surface and near-surface ice, as well as other proposals that aim to use interactions between matter and radiation to infer the abundance of deeply buried ice.

For more information about the conference, including links to the program and abstracts, visit

— Text provided by Lior Rubanenko