The main scientific goals that will be achieved by the application of the gas-chromatography mass-spectrometer complex (GC-MS) are:
- Investigation of chemical composition and inventory of volatiles (water, СО2, N2, Н2, organics, noble gases, etc.) in situ in the lunar soil at the landing place;
- Investigation of volatile-containing phases in the lunar soil;
- Investigation of organic components in the lunar soil;
- Measurement of isotope composition of CHON elements (13С/12С, D/H, 17O/16O, 18O/16O, 15N/14N) and noble gases;
- To constrain the mineralogical composition of the lunar soil (with emphasis on the volatile-bearing minerals) on the basis of thermal and gas evolving experiments with the use of data from LASMA-LR, and other experiments.
To achieve these scientific goals the GC-MS complex consists of four modules, the soil preparation and loading system (SDA), the thermal differential analyser (TDA), the gas chromatograph (GC), and the mass spectrometer (TOF-MS):
Schematic representation of GC-MS complex
If this project were to prove the existence of water on the Moon, it would not only write an important page in the geological history of the Earth's natural satellite, but would also be an important finding if humans ever attempt to build a habitable base on the Moon. In 2006, NASA chose the western edge of Shackleton Crater, a location near the south pole of the Moon, as the likely location for a future permanently manned outpost.