Press release

Signing of the minutes of the successful ASAN flight acceptance review held in Kiruna on 31. March 2017. From left to right: Martin Wieser (IRF), Zhang Aibing (NSSC), Wang Lei (CAS). (Image Credit: IRF/NSSC/CAS)

Swedish Institute of Space Physics goes back to the Moon

The Advanced Small Analyzer for Neutrals (ASAN) instrument on Chang'e 4. (Image Credit: IRF)

On April 7, the Swedish Institute of Space Physics successfully delivered the flight model of the Advanced Small Analyzer for Neutrals (ASAN) instrument to the NationaláSpaceáScienceáCenter of theáChineseáAcademyáofáSciences in Beijing, China. The ASAN instrument will be launched at the end of 2018 onboard the Chinese Chang'e 4 mission to the Moon. Chang'e 4 consists of an orbiter, lander and rover.

Landing on the surface

Chang'e 4 lander and rover will land on the invisible far side of the Moon, where they will investigate the lunar environment. Mounted on the rover, the ASAN instrument will examine the interaction of the solar wind with the lunar surface by measuring energetic neutral atoms and ions emitted from the lunar surface. The ASAN instrument will perform these measurements from a vantage point of only 60 cm above ground. The Chang'e 4 rover is planned to make observations for at least three months on the surface.

Return to the surface of the Moon

The Swedish built Hasselblad camera was used in the Apollo missions. Here mounted on the chest of the spacesuit of an astronaut. See this web page in NASA for more information about this image. (Image Credit: NASA (taken by the use of a Hasselblad camera of course))

The ASAN instrument will mark the return of Swedish built scientific instruments to the lunar surface after the famous Hasselblad cameras used during the Apollo missions.

Ongoing science

The ASAN instrument will allow a continuation of the very successful research initiated with the participation in the Indian Chandrayaan-1 mission with the SARA instrument. A wide range of ground breaking discoveries about the interaction of the solar wind with the lunar surface were made, including the first image of a mini-magnetosphere on the Moon. Many of the open questions raised by SARA measurements made from orbit, will find an answer with ground truth data obtained by the ASAN instrument.

Dr. Martin Wieser, IRF Kiruna, tel. +46-980-79198,

The Swedish Institute of Space Physics (IRF) is a governmental research institute which conducts research and postgraduate education in atmospheric physics, space physics and space technology. Measurements are made in the atmosphere, ionosphere, magnetosphere and around other planets with the help of ground-based equipment (including radar), stratospheric balloons and satellites. IRF was established (as Kiruna Geophysical Observatory) in 1957 and its first satellite instrument was launched in 1968. The head office is in Kiruna (geographic coordinates 67.84░ N, 20.41░ E) and IRF also has offices in Umeň, Uppsala and Lund.

Institutet för rymdfysik, IRF, är ett statligt forskningsinstitut under Utbildningsdepartementet. IRF bedriver grundforskning och forskarutbildning i rymdfysik, atmosfärsfysik och rymdteknik. Mätningar görs i atmosfären, jonosfären, magnetosfären och runt andra planeter med hjälp av ballonger, markbaserad utrustning (bl a radar) och satelliter. För närvarande har IRF instrument ombord på satelliter i bana runt tre planeter, jorden, Mars och Saturnus. IRF har ca 100 anställda och bedriver verksamhet i Kiruna (huvudkontoret), Umeå, Uppsala och Lund.