SELENA (acronym for Sustainable Experiment on Lunar Exploitation using a Nanotechnology Approach) is an experiment to demonstrate in situ the presence of lunar volatiles and/or demonstrate the feasibility of extracting oxygen from the lunar regolith; it intends to use the principles of thermogravimetric (TG) analysis to collect sample(s) from the surface of the Moon, treat them in situ, and measure any loss of mass. This experiment also adresses to the GLXP Bonus Prize category for detection of water on the Moon and the award for promoting diversity in the field of space exploration.
The Moon has traditionally been considered a dry, volatile-free planet. However, some early theoretical speculations and more recent remote sensing evidence strongly suggest the presence of lunar (H2O) ice. In addition to the great scientific interest of such a discovery, lunar ice can become an essential natural resource to aid the continuous exploration of the Moon and the planets beyond. SELENA will attempt to carry out the first ever demonstration of the technological feasibility of in situ (planetary) resource utilization (ISRU).