The venerable science magazine Nature has published a piece on Google Lunar X Prize competitor Odyssey Moon's plan to take Dutch spectrometer, "MoonShot", to the lunar surface. Pointing out the growth of commercial space, Nature writes that scientists wanting to do space science may now have another option if their respective governments don't happen to have plans to explore:
MoonShot was originally designed to look for organic compounds in the Martian soil using two different types of laser-based spectrometry. The version that will go to Mars on the European Space Agency's ExoMars mission has been cut back to include only a Raman spectrometer, which uses a laser beam to detect chemical signatures, including organic compounds, in surface samples. The version flying privately to the Moon, however, will also have a laser-induced breakdown spectrometer, which will scan the lunar soil and can detect heavy metals. "You shine the laser and just find out what's there," says Erik Laan, an engineer who helped build the instrument at TNO Science and Industry in Delft, the Netherlands.