Surface Dust Analyser

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ManufacturerUniversity of Colorado Boulder
Instrument typeTime-of-flight mass spectrometer
FunctionMapping surface composition
Mission durationCruise: 3-6 years
Science phase: ≥ 3 years
Mass5 kg (11 lb)
Dimensions26.8 × 25.0 × 17.1 cm3
Host spacecraft
SpacecraftEuropa Clipper
Launch date≈ 2025 [1]
Launch siteKennedy Space Center

The SUrface Dust Analyser (SUDA) is a time-of-flight mass spectrometer of reflectron-type that employs impact ionization and is optimised for a high mass resolution.[2][3] The instrument was selected in May 2015 to fly on board the Europa Clipper mission, that is planned for 2025[1] to Jupiter's moon Europa.

This instrument will measure the composition of small, solid particles ejected from Europa, providing the opportunity to directly sample the surface and potential plumes on low-altitude flybys. Europa's internal liquid water ocean has been identified as one of the locations in the Solar System that may offer habitable environments to microbial extraterrestrial life.[4][5][6]


The basic idea of compositional mapping is that moons without an atmosphere are surrounded by clouds of dust particles released from their surfaces by meteoroid bombardment. The ejected particles can be sampled and their composition analyzed from orbit or during a spacecraft flyby.[3] Since these grains are direct samples from the moons' icy surfaces, determination of their composition will help to define and constrain the geological activities on and below the moons' surface, the exchange processes with the deeper interior, and assess its internal ocean habitability potential.[3][7] The instrument is capable of identifying traces of organic and inorganic compounds in the ice of ejecta.[8]

The SUDA instrument has technological heritage from the Cassini CDA and the Stardust CIDA instruments.[3] The Principal Investigator is Sascha Kempf, from the University of Colorado Boulder. Co-investigators on the instrument include Mihaly Horanyi and Zoltan Sternovsky.

Parameter Units/performance[3]
Mass 5 kg (11 lb)
Dimensions 26.8 × 25.0 × 17.1 cm3
Sensitive area 220 cm2
Effective mass resolution 200 to 250 m/Δm
Mass range of interest 1-250 amu


The SUDA objectives are:[9]

  • Provide a spatially resolved compositional map of Europa for the regions along the groundtracks of the orbiter's flybys.
  • Characterize the alteration of Europa's surface via exogenous dust impacts by measuring the composition, size, speed, and spatial distribution of dust in the vicinity of the moon.
  • Investigate the local plasma environment of Europa by measuring the electrostatic charge of dust particles in the vicinity of the moon.


  1. ^ a b Europa Clipper passes key review. Jeff Foust, Space News. 22 August 2019.
  2. ^ SUrface Dust Mass Analyzer (SUDA) selected for Europa mission. Sascha Kempf, Phys Org. May 27, 2015.
  3. ^ a b c d e SUDA: A Dust Mass Spectrometer for Compositional Surface Mapping for a Mission to Europa (PDF). S. Kempf, N. Altobelli, C. Briois, E. Grün, M. Horanyi, F. Postberg, J. Schmidt, R. Srama, Z. Sternovsky, G. Tobie, and M. Zolotov. EPSC Abstracts Vol. 9, EPSC2014-229, 2014. European Planetary Science Congress 2014.
  4. ^ Dreier, Casey (12 December 2013). "Europa: No Longer a "Should," But a "Must"". The Planetary Society.
  5. ^ Schulze-Makuch, Dirk; Irwin, Louis N. (2001). "Alternative Energy Sources Could Support Life on Europa" (PDF). Departments of Geological and Biological Sciences. University of Texas at El Paso. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2006-07-03.
  6. ^ Zabarenko, Deborah (7 March 2011). "Lean U.S. missions to Mars, Jupiter moon recommended". Reuters.
  7. ^ SUDA: a dust mass spectrometer for compositional surface mapping for the JUICE mission to the Galilean moons (PDF). S. Kempf, C. Briois, H. Cottin, C. Engrand, E. Grün, K. Hand, H. Henkel, M. Horányi, M. Lankton, J.-P. Lebreton, F. Postberg, J. Schmidt, R. Srama, Z. Sternovsky, R. Thissen, G. Tobie, C. Szopa, and M. Zolotov. International Workshop on Instrumentation for Planetary Missions, 2012.
  8. ^ Kempf, Sascha; et al. (May 2012). "Linear high resolution dust mass spectrometer for a mission to the Galilean satellites". Planetary and Space Science. 65 (1): 10–20. Bibcode:2012P&SS...65...10K. doi:10.1016/j.pss.2011.12.019.
  9. ^ Quick Facts: Europa SUrface Dust Mass Analyzer (SUDA). University of Colorado Boulder, 2017.