Robert S. Smith
Aerospace Education Mentor
Last Updated June 15th, 2006    Contact Bo Smith

Using Reflectance Spectrometry to Detect the Presence of Water in Planetary Surfaces

Rachel Hopkins- Ridgeview High School '2006
Objective- The initial objective of this project was to determine if the composition of selected inorganic  sediment samples could be identified using an Alta II Spectrometer. Subsequently, the investigator decided to determine how the presence of water (in the liquid and solid forms) would alter the reflectance data.

Data Collection Plan- Two spectrometers were used to determine intrument reliability.  The number of trials for each sample was determined by the variability experienced.  If there were little variability experienced, three trials will be accomplished for each sample.  If the variability was high, additional trials were conducted.

Samples- Samples of known composition were be used during initial trials. Initially samples of  Ilmentite, Rutile, Ziron, and Staurolite sand from northeast Florida and Olivine and Basalt sand (black sand) from Hawaii were tested.

Moon and Mars Regolith- After the initial trials were completed, samples of simulated Moon and Mars regolith were compared to the trial samples.

Click HERE to see the results of Rachel's investigation!


Science Fair Results
  High School Science Fair (January 18-20, 2006)
    Won 1st Place in Earth/Space Science category

   County/Regional Science Fair (February 13th, 2006)
     2nd Place in Earth/Space Science category
     US Air Force Certificate of Achievement
     selected for Florida State Science Fair

  Florida State Science Fair (Orlando) (April 19th-21st)
     3rd Place- Earth/Space Scioence Category
     Award from the Association for Women in
                              Geoscientists Foundation
     Received one of five Pegasus Gold Scholarships given
             by the University of Central Florida