The variations of neutron component of lunar radiation background from LEND/LRO observations

M. L. Litvak, I. G. Mitrofanov, A. B. Sanin, B. N. Bakhtin, J. G. Bodnarik, W. V. Boynton, G. Chin, L. G. Evans, K. Harshman, T. A. Livengood, A. Malakhov, M. I. Mokrousov, T. P. McClanahan, R. Sagdeev, R. Starr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Lunar neutron flux data measured by the Lunar Exploration Neutron Detector (LEND) onboard NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) were analyzed for the period 2009-2014. We have re-evaluated the instrument's collimation capability and re-estimated the neutron counting rate measured in the Field of View (FOV) of the LEND collimated detectors, and found it to be 1.0±0.1 counts per second. We derived the spectral density of the neutron flux for various lunar regions using our comprehensive numerical model of orbital measurements. This model takes into account the location of the LEND instrument onboard LRO to calculate the surface leakage neutron flux and its propagation to the instrument detectors. Based on this we have determined the lunar neutron flux at the surface to be ∼2 neutrons/[cm2 sec] in the epithermal energy range, 0.4 eV to 1 keV. We have also found variations of the lunar neutron leakage flux with amplitude as large as a factor of two, by using multi-year observations to explore variations in the Galactic Cosmic Ray (GCR) flux during the 23rd-24th solar cycles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)53-65
Number of pages13
JournalPlanetary and Space Science
StatePublished - Mar 1 2016


  • LEND
  • Moon
  • Neutrons

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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