Program and Abstracts

 

3rd International Planetary Caves Conference

February 18–21, 2020

San Antonio, Texas

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

 

 

8:30 a.m.

SwRI B263 Lobby

Registration

9:00 a.m.

SwRI B263 Main Presentation Room

Opening Plenary:  The State of Extraterrestrial Cave Science and Exploration

10:15 a.m.

SwRI B263 Main Presentation Room

Pit Crater Chains and Lava Tube Formation Mechanisms I

1:30 p.m.

SwRI B263 Main Presentation Room

Habitability and Astrobiological Potential of Caves and Pit Craters I

4:45 p.m.

SwRI B263 Lobby

Poster Session:  Cave and Pit Crater Science and Exploration

 

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

 

 

7:45 a.m.

SwRI

Field Trip to Natural Bridge Caverns and Robber Baron Cave

TBD

SwRI

SwRI Archives Tour

 

Thursday, February 20, 2020

 

 

9:00 a.m.

SwRI B263 Main Presentation Room

Lunar Exploration Concepts

1:30 p.m.

SwRI B263 Main Presentation Room

Decadal Whitepaper Workshop:  Exploration of the Martian Subsurface through Lava Tubes and Pit Crater Chains

3:15 p.m.

SwRI B263 Main Presentation Room

Mars Mission and Instrument Concepts

5:30 p.m.

SwRI

5:30 p.m. transportation to Casa Rio Restaurant

6:00 p.m. San Antonio River Cruise

7:00 p.m. Casa Rio Dinner

 

Friday, February 21, 2020

 

 

9:00 a.m.

SwRI B263 Main Presentation Room

Habitability and Astrobiological Potential of Caves and Pit Craters II — Biosignatures

12:30 p.m.

SwRI B263 Main Presentation Room

Pit Crater Chain Formation II

 

 

 

Print Only:  Cave Science and Instrumentation

 

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

OPENING PLENARY:  THE STATE OF EXTRATERRESTRIAL CAVE SCIENCE AND EXPLORATION

9:00 a.m.   SwRI B263 Main Presentation Room

This session will provide an overview of the state of cave science and cave exploration in planetary contexts.

Chairs:  Charity Phillips-Lander and Penelope Boston

Times

Authors (*Denotes Presenter)

Abstract Title and Summary

9:00 a.m.

 

Welcome and Introductions

9:15 a.m.

Kerber L. *

The State of Extraterrestrial Cave Science and Exploration

10:00 a.m.

 

Q&A

 

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

PIT CRATER CHAINS AND LAVA TUBE FORMATION MECHANISMS I

10:15 a.m.   SwRI B263 Main Presentation Room

Discussion of formation mechanisms for lava tubes and pit craters on rocky and icy planetary bodies.

Chairs:  Alan Whittington and Debra Buczkowski

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Times

Authors (*Denotes Presenter)

Abstract Title and Summary

10:15 a.m.

Whittington A. G. *   Sehlke A.   Morrison A. A.

Tubular Hells:  New Measurements of Lunar Magma Rheology and Thermal Properties Applied to Thermal Erosion and Lava Tube Formation [#1077]
Lava tube formation mechanisms are discussed in the light of new experimental data on lava properties.

10:35 a.m.

Kerber L. *   Jozwiak L. M.   Whitten J.   Wagner R. V.   Denevi B. W.

The Geologic Context of Major Lunar Mare Pits [#1048]
Lunar pit caves provide a unique opportunity to observe lunar bedrock layering, allowing us to access a pristine cross-sectional exposure of the geologic history of the Moon. This work discusses what we know from orbit about what each pit exposes.

10:55 a.m.

Sauro F. *   Pozzobon R.   Massironi M.   De Berardinis P.   Santagata T.   De Waele J.

Volume and Morphology of Martian and Lunar Lava Tubes Revealed by Comparative Planetology [#1050]
A morphometric study was performed on lava tube collapse chains on Earth for a comparison with similar chains on Mars and the Moon. We present a first dataset estimating the potential volumes of intact lava tubes on the three planetary bodies.

11:15 a.m.

Wagner R. V. *   Robinson M. S.

What to Expect in Lunar Pits [#1045]
Summary of our recent research on lunar pits, including interior morphology, visible layering, expected radiation levels, and suggested instruments for in-situ measurements.

11:35 a.m.

Prettyman T. H. *   Titus T. N.   Cushing G. E.   Okubo C. H.   Sankey J. B.   Williams K. E.   Caster J.   Boston P. J.   Schorghofer N.   Spilde M. N.

Muon Overburden Gauge for Planetary Analog Studies of Cave Ice Stability [#1044]
In-cave measurements of atmospheric muons constrain the macroporosity and permeability of cave ceilings and enable monitoring of the percolation of meteoric water. The data support analog studies of cave ice stability.

11:55 a.m.

 

LUNCH

 

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

HABITABILITY AND ASTROBIOLOGICAL POTENTIAL OF CAVES AND PIT CRATERS I

1:30 p.m.   SwRI B263 Main Presentation Room

We will explore the habitability and astrobiological potential of caves and pit crater chains.

Chairs:  Penelope Boston and Pascal Lee

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Times

Authors (*Denotes Presenter)

Abstract Title and Summary

1:30 p.m.

Boston P. J. *

Caves and Cavities Throughout the Solar System:  Prospects Revisited for Occurrence and Astrobiological Significance [#1076]
Based on latest results from planetary and small body studies, I revisit my previously published matrix of known and hypothetical speleogenetic mechanisms classified by physical and chemical processes and reassess them for astrobiological value.

1:50 p.m.

Martin-Torres J. *   Zorzano M. P.   Bhardwaj A.   Sam L.   Singh S.

Martian Caves as Special Region Candidates [#1060]
Here we present a study of the environmental conditions in martian subsurface cavities such as caves and how it can be considered as Special Regions.

2:10 p.m.

De Hon R. A. *

Martian Alcoves as Havens from Harsh Surface Environment [#1030]
The variety of surface modifying processes and stratified materials on Mars offers protected habitats other than lava tubes. Alcoves, which form in a wide array of terrains, may provide safe sites for early martian life or future astronauts.

2:30 p.m.

Lee P. *

Ice-Rich Caves on the Moon and Mars:  Prospects and Pragmatic Recommendations for Exploration [#1066]
We synthesize lessons learned from our recent studies of lava pits and caves on the Earth, Moon, and Mars, including of promising technologies to investigate these and offer pragmatic recommendations for future efforts.

2:50 p.m.

 

BREAK

3:20 p.m.

Smith H. D. *

An Astrobiology Exploration Strategy for Caves Based on the Tony Grove Karst Region in Northern Utah [#1072]
We examine an exploration strategy for life detection and preservation in caves at a semi-arid karst dominated region.

3:40 p.m.

Barry-Sosa A. *   Flint M. K.   Gulley J. D.   Summerall T.   Martin J. B.   Christner B. C.

The Upper Floridian Aquifer as an Analog for Extraterrestrial Subsurface Environments [#1034]
The UFA is an energetically limited freshwater karstic aquifer that can be useful to evaluate signatures associated with subsurface life and its biogeochemical products including gases like nitrous oxide and methane, and the mineral goethite.

4:00 p.m.

Phillips-Lander C. M. *   Jordan B.   Stockton A. M.   Elwood-Madden M. E.

The Role of Phosphorous in Microbial Colonization of Lava Tube Caves [#1054]
Microbial colonization and growth significantly influenced by P-availability. This provides an initial screening tool to select potentially habitable martian caves.

4:20 p.m.

Miller A. Z.   Gonzalez-Pimentel J. L.   Maurer M.   Stahl S.   Castro-Wallace S.   Bessone L.   Martinez-Frias J.   Sauro F. *

Geomicrobiological Field Research in a Subsurface Analogue Environment for Future Planetary Caves Missions [#1052]
During the ESA astronaut training and technology testing campaign PANGAEA, a microbiological experiment was performed in the Corona Lava Tube including in situ third generation sequencing.

 

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

POSTER SESSION:  CAVE AND PIT CRATER SCIENCE AND EXPLORATION

4:45–6:30 p.m.   SwRI B263 Lobby

Authors

Abstract Title and Summary

Hong I. S.   Choi YJ.   Moon H. K.   Yi Y.

Detection of Subsurface Void in Pit Cluster Area by Using Gravity Analysis [#1036]
We analyze pit cluster area with processed gravity model. We apply a few methods for low gravity in shallow depth. We discover low gravity in pit cluster area. And we are going to apply same method to other target area.

Sharma H.   Jhalani A.   Savla S. S.   Sheth H.   Jones H. L.   Whittaker W. L.

Robot Autonomy for Acquiring Imagery for Planetary Pit Modelling [#1061]
This abstract presents an autonomous robotic system that circumnavigates a lunar pit, acquires imagery of it by navigating up close to the pit edge taking into account the changing illumination within a lunar day.

Curtis A. G.

Comparison of Earth’s Fumarolic Ice Caves, with Implications for Icy Voids on Other Worlds [#1070]
The author has worked inside fumarolic ice caves near the summits of Mt. Erebus, Mt. Rainier, Mt. St. Helens, and Villarrica. Comparisons will be presented and what might be encountered when caves in ice are visited elsewhere in the solar system, and how they might be studied remotely.

Bardabelias N. M.   Holt J. W.   Christoffersen M. S.

Potential Detection of Martian Lava Tubes from Mars Global Cave Candidate Catalog Skylight Locations Using SHARAD [#1068]
This work aims to determine if lava tubes can be detected with SHARAD and if they exhibit a distinctive power echo. MGC3 skylight locations intersecting SHARAD tracks are examined for non-clutter reflectors, from which tubes depths can be derived.

Whizin A. D.   Metzger P.   Dreyer C.   Phillips-Lander C.   Asquith C.   Focia R.   Retherford K.

Innovating Lunar ISRU Technologies for Long-Term Exploration and Habitation [#1078]
We are developing an instrument-level architecture for magnetic induction additive manufacturing, which when applied to off-world applications, is a potentially revolutionary technique for the ISRU of lunar feed-stocks.

Kalita H.   Thangavelautham J.

Automated Design of Robotic Platform for Exploration of Planetary Caves, Pits, and Lava Tubes [#1065]
Our approach is to find optimal design solutions of a robotic platform (SphereX) capable of exploring planetary caves, pits, and lava tubes.

Mitchell K. L.    Kerber L.   Malaska M. J.

JPL R&D for Deep Extraterrestrial Cave Exploration [1079]

JPL pursues approaches to cave missions with many partners.

 

Thursday, February 20, 2020

LUNAR EXPLORATION CONCEPTS

9:00 a.m.   SwRI B263 Main Presentation Room

This session will examine the advancement of lunar exploration concepts.

Chairs:  Laura Kerber and Andrew Romero-Wolf

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Times

Authors (*Denotes Presenter)

Abstract Title and Summary

9:00 a.m.

 

Welcome and Introductions

9:15 a.m.

Bessone L.   Carnelli I.   Fontaine M.   Sauro F. *

ESA SysNova Lunar Caves Challenge [#1039]
The European Space Agency opened in August 2019 a campaign through its Open Space Innovation Platform, asking for novel ideas to address detecting, mapping, and exploring caves on the Moon.

9:35 a.m.

Romero-Wolf A. *   Devin C.   Franklin G.   Hawkins D.   Haynes M.   Lee M.   Lazio J.   Liu J.   Mitchell K.   Peters S.   Robison D.   Schroeder D.

Passive Sounding of Lunar Lava Tubes [#1040]
We present a passive sounding technique that uses radio emissions from the Sun and Jupiter as signals of opportunity to map lunar lava tubes from orbit or from the ground using a lander or a rover.

9:55 a.m.

Kerber L. *   Moon Diver Team

Moon Diver:  Journey into the Ancient Lavas of the Moon [#1049]
After more than 50 years, Moon Diver aims to return to Mare Tranquillitatis, building on the legacy of Apollo by exploring a >50 m exposure of the Moon’s secondary crust and descending into an extraterrestrial cave for the first time.

10:15 a.m.

Whittaker W. L. *   Jones H. L.   Wong U. Y.   Ford J. S.   Whittaker W. C.   Khera N.   Horchler A.

Micro-Rover Exploration of Lunar Pits Deployable by Commercial Lander [#1074]
This paper conceives high-return pit explorations achievable by the technologies of our time that can be delivered by commercial landers and economical missions.

10:35 a.m.

 

BREAK

11:05 a.m.

Sauro F. *   Massironi M.   Santagata T.   Pozzobon R.   Rossi A. P.   Torrese P.   Cockell C.   Bessone L.

The ESA PANGAEA-X Testing Campaign in the Corona Lava Tube (Lanzarote, Spain) as an Analogue for Lunar Caves Exploration [#1055]
ESA PANGAEA-X campaign in 2017 has been focused on instruments and tools for lava tube exploration, mapping, and navigation, with several experiments as analogues for planetary caves study.

11:25 a.m.

Bessone L.   De Waele J.   Sauro F. *

The ESA CAVES Astronaut Training Program:  Speleological Exploration as an Analogue for Space [#1056]
The ESA CAVES training program for astronauts has the specific goal to prepare astronauts for long duration space missions using caves environments and expeditions as a space analogue, also in preparation of planetary caves exploration.

11:45 a.m.

Ximenes S. W. *   Hooper D. M.   Palat A.   Cantwell L.   Appleford M.   Webb J.   Wells R.   Patrick E. L.   Necsoiu M.

Lunar Caves Analog Test Sites for Space-STEM Engagement [#1035]
A Lunar Caves Analog Test Sites (LCATS) program for Space-STEM education incorporates investigations of ISRU technologies, e.g., regolith simulant research and 3D printed manufacturing for habitat design and planetary construction.

12:05 p.m.

Chandrachud R. A. *

Development of ISRU Units on Moon with Lunar Caves as Source for ISRU Processing Materials [#1057]
This paper describes caves within area Oceanus Procellarum on the Earth’s Moon enriched with materials for ISRU processing, availability of water, and future test on the Titan. Also, this paper propounds use of robotics for development of ISRU units.

12:25 p.m.

 

LUNCH

 

Thursday, February 20, 2020

DECADAL WHITEPAPER WORKSHOP:  EXPLORATION OF THE MARTIAN SUBSURFACE THROUGH LAVA TUBES AND PIT CRATER CHAINS

1:30 p.m.   SwRI B263 Main Presentation Room

We will discuss the progress toward a whitepaper submission to the Decadal Survey, receive and implement recommendations for revisions from the community, and add any additional people who wish to co-sign.

Moderator:           Charity Phillips-Lander

Panel Members:          Jut Wynne, Kyle Uckert, David Anthony, Tim Titus

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Decadal Whitepaper Submission:  Examining the habitability and astrobiological potential of the martian subsurface through lava tube caves and atypical pit crater chains.

1)       Why we’re ready for a martian subsurface mission

2)       Types of science that can be achieved

3)       Robotic architectures to consider

 

Thursday, February 20, 2020

MARS MISSION AND INSTRUMENT CONCEPTS

3:15 p.m.   SwRI B263 Main Presentation Room

This session focuses on recent advances in instrumentation and mission concepts for exploration of lava tube caves and atypical pit crater chains on other worlds, with an emphasis on Mars.

Chairs:  Jenifer Blank and Kyle Uckert

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Times

Authors (*Denotes Presenter)

Abstract Title and Summary

3:15 p.m.

Kalita H. *   Thangavelautham J.

Robotic Exploration of Planetary Caves, Pits, and Lava Tubes [#1064]
We present an architecture of small, low-cost, modular spherical robot called SphereX that is designed for exploring planetary caves, pits, and lava tubes.

3:35 p.m.

Blank J. G. *

Robotic Mapping and Exploration of a Terrestrial Lava Tube:  A Structured Planetary Cave Mission Simulation with a Remote Astrobiology Science Team [#1047]
This presentation will discuss a planetary cave mission simulation conducted by the NASA BRAILLE Team. We used the NASA Ames testing rover, CaveR, at Lava Beds National Monument in Northern California, USA.

3:55 p.m.

Uckert K. *   Parness A.   Chanover N.

Deployment of an Instrument Payload on a Rock-Climbing Robot for Subsurface Life Detection Investigations [#1031]
LEMUR, a four-legged climbing robot, was integrated with a representative astrobiology payload and deployed in a lava tube cave to mature a system architecture capable of identifying biosignatures in extreme terrain.

4:15 p.m.

Wynne J. J. *   Phillips-Lander C. M.   Titus T. N.

Proposed Mission Architecture and Technology Requirements for Robotic and Human Exploration of Martian Caves [#1043]
We propose a simplified process to advance martian speleology from a rudimentary understanding to acquiring the data required to evaluate and select the best candidates for astrobiological investigations and human outposts.

4:35 p.m.

Phillips-Lander C. M. *   Wynne J. J.   Parness A.   Uckert K.   Chanover N.   Titus T. N.   Williams K.   Demirel-Floyd C.   Eshelman E.   Stockton A.   Johnson S.   Wyrick D.

Science Returns Expected from MACIE:  Mars Astrobiological Caves and Internal Habitability Explorer (A New Frontiers Mission Concept) [#1042]
We detail the potential science returns expected from a New Frontiers Mission to explore a martian lava tube cave.

4:55 p.m.

Sam L. *   Bhardwaj A.   Singh S.   Martin-Torres F. J.

UAV Imaging of Small Caves in Icelandic Lava Field as Possible Mars Analogues [#1053]
UAVs can be extremely helpful in Mars analogue research and here we explore their application in studying small lava caves in Iceland. The high-resolution imaging provides interesting results on these volcanic features.

5:15 p.m.

 

Adjourn

 

Friday, February 21, 2020

HABITABILITY AND ASTROBIOLOGICAL POTENTIAL OF CAVES AND PIT CRATERS II — BIOSIGNATURES

9:00 a.m.   SwRI B263 Main Presentation Room

This session will focus on how we detect and differentiate biosignatures of life on other worlds.

Chairs:  Carole Lakrout and Michael Spilde

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Times

Authors (*Denotes Presenter)

Abstract Title and Summary

9:00 a.m.

 

Welcome and Introductions

9:15 a.m.

Sarbu S. M. *   Fleming E. J.   Nealson K. H.   Barr C.   Aerts J.   Flot J.-F.   Onac B. P.   Tighe S.   Vellone D. L.   Popa R.

Life in Subsurface Voids with Gas Chemoclines — An Earthly Proxy for Extraterrestrial Life [#1069]
We present a subsurface environment containing a gas chemocline that could be used as a proxy for the study of extraterrestrial life. Chemoautotrophic microbial biofilms are found in a cave containing a gas chemocline (CH4 and H2S/O2).

9:35 a.m.

Csuka J. M. *   Adeli S.   Baqué M.   Iakubivskyi I.   Kopacz N.   Neubeck A.   Schnürer A.   Singh A.   Stockwell B. R.   Vilhelmsson O.   Geppert W. D.

Linking Biological and Geochemical Data from Icelandic Lava Tubes:  Insights for Upcoming Missions in the Search for Extant or Extinct Life on Mars [#1051]
The Planetary Analogues and Exobiology Lava Tube Expedition (PELE) team investigates volcanic caves as Martian analogue sites. Here we present data from Icelandic lava tubes, with the aim of identifying biotically-formed speleothems as biosignatures.

9:55 a.m.

Ford J. A. *   Kulkarni H. V.   Godet A.   Blank J.   Datta S.

Mineralogical, Chemical, and Morphological Variations Among Analog Basaltic Lava Cave Speleothems [#1046]
Basaltic caves at terrestrial analog site Lava Beds National Monument contain microbial communities in contact with speleothems and liquid water. These speleothems exhibit unique geochemical signatures that may suggest biotic pathways of formation.

10:15 a.m.

Spilde M. N. *   Medley J. J.   Northup D. E.   Boston P. J.

Mineral Biomarkers for Extraterrestrial Caves [#1071]
Unusual minerals found in terrestrial lava caves may provide biomarkers for Mars life.

10:35 a.m.

Lakrout C. A. *   Goldfarb E. J.   Bontognali T. R. R.   Tisato N.

Biotic Influence on Speleothem Morphology [#1075]
We analyzed speleothems from a cave. Although the cave is an extreme environment, microbes control the formation and morphology of such speleothems. Such speleothems represent a potential starting point for the seeking of life on other planets.

10:55 a.m.

Sandjaja I.   Schubert K. E. *   Gomez E.   Boston P. J.

Pattern Extraction from Cave Images [#1067]
Glare is a larger problem in caves due to the limited lighting, and thus multiple images and advanced speckle removal algorithms are needed.  With glare removed, image regions with patterns and those that don’t are separated and the patterns marked.

11:15 a.m.

 

LUNCH

 

Friday, February 21, 2020

PIT CRATER CHAIN FORMATION II

12:30 p.m.   SwRI B263 Main Presentation Room

Discussion of formation mechanisms for lava tubes and pit craters on rocky and icy planetary bodies.

Chairs:  Timothy Titus and Danielle Wyrick

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Times

Authors (*Denotes Presenter)

Abstract Title and Summary

12:30 p.m.

Morrison A. A. *   Whittington A. G.

Cryolava Tubes:  A Feasibility Study [#1073]
Lava tubes insulate lava allowing transport over large distances. Some of the largest lava flows on the terrestrial bodies are tube-fed flows. Lava tubes may also exist on icy bodies producing cave networks within the subsurface.

12:50 p.m.

Wyrick D. Y. *   Buczkowski D. L.

Pit Crater Chains:  Evidence for Subterranean Tectonic Caves [#1058]
Pit crater chains have direct implications for fluid and volatile storage in the lithospheres of planetary bodies. These easily identifiable features are a target for future in situ resources and astrobiology exploration.

1:10 p.m.

Buczkowski D. L. *   Wyrick D. Y.

Tectonic Caves on Small Bodies:  Potential In Situ Resource Reservoirs [#1059]
Asteroids are extremely common and yet their potential for in situ resource exploration remains poorly understood. Near-ubiquitous pit crater chains represent evidence of subsurface void space which may house stores of volatile and mineral resources.

1:30 p.m.

Ford J. S. *   Callaghan P. J.   Wong U. Y.   Jones H. L.   Whittaker W. C.   Whittaker W. L.

Image and Lidar Dataset of the West Desert Sinkhole:  An Analog for Steep-Walled Planetary Pits [#1062]
This work presents a LIDAR and image dataset for studying steep-walled planetary pits. This paper describes the apparatus and procedures used to create the dataset, the organization of the dataset, and anticipated applications for the dataset.

1:50 p.m.

Titus T. N. *   Williams K. E.   Cushing G. E.   Okubo C. H.

Cave Breathing in a Terrestrial Analog Atypical Pit Crater — Insolation Induced Convective Cooling [#1041]
Many factors can influence cave micro-climates. This abstract focuses on one component that may contribute to cave breathing when the cave entrance is located near the floor of an Atypical Pit Crater (APC). We use data collected from a Hawaii APC.

2:10 p.m.

 

Wrap-Up

2:25 p.m.

 

Adjourn

 

PRINT ONLY:  CAVE SCIENCE AND INSTRUMENTATION

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Authors

Abstract Title and Summary

Johnson J. C.   Johnson P. A.   Mardon A. A.

Classifying Levees at the Olympus Mons Using Machine Learning for Safe Spacecraft Deployment Site Identification [#1037]
Here, we suggest the adoption of a classification system to detect martian levees using polarimetric Synthetic Aperture Radar (polSAR) data analysis.

Johnson J. C.   Johnson P. A.   Mardon A. A.

Mirrors for Harnessing Solar Energy in Cave Exploration and Other Low-Light Settings [#1038]
Here, we propose the integration of the space-based solar power model on the lunar surface with the use of mirrors on the Moon for solar energy capture for use in exploration and in situ resource utilization.

Wiens R. C.   Gasda P.   Matthies L. H.   Johnson W.   Young L. A.   Clegg S.   Maurice S.

Airborne Reconnaissance Mission Concept for Organics in a Martian Cave [#1063]
We describe a mission concept to explore a Mars skylight cave using a a helicopter and an ultralight payload consisting of a visible imager, a time-resolved laser-induced fluorescence imager (OrganiCam) for mapping organics, and volatile organic sensor.