Sarai Montanez Munoz

M.Sc. Candidate

Areas of interest

Geophysical modelling and field validation of terrestrial analogues for lunar exploration

The Moon has become a major target of scientific research due to numerous newly detected structures similar to those on Earth, and the recently identified presence of water ice (hidden in craters and lunar regolith near its poles) critical for future human settlement. The lunar geological and geophysical characteristics are currently studied only studied remotely (via satellites and telescopes) with the only in situ data coming from the Apollo missions.

My research focuses on the development of geologically constrained geophysical models and testing of new gravimeters to characterize terrestrial structures. Structures of interest include lava tubes, which can be considered as analogous to those reported on the Moon and are potential sites for future lunar settlements. The main objective of this project is to build on existing geological and geophysical information collected via high-resolution satellite imaging to clarify unresolved questions inherent to remotely sensed data. Initial synthetic geophysical models will be evaluated and subsequently validated in the field along with rigorous testing of newly developed sensors. We aim to collaboratively develop a gravimetry system to study structures on the Moon and other bodies in the solar system.