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  • 1
    Publication Date: 2018-06-11
    Description: The exploration of the possible emergence and duration of life on Mars from landed platforms requires attention to the quality of measurements that address these objectives. In particular, the potential impact of terrestrial contamination on the measurement of reduced carbon with sensitive in situ instruments must be addressed in order to reach definitive conclusions regarding the source of organic molecules. Following the recommendation of the Mars Exploration Program Analysis Group (MEPAG) at its September 2003 meeting [MEPAG, 2003], the Mars Program Office at NASA Headquarters chartered the Organic Contamination Science Steering Group (OCSSG) to address this issue. The full report of the six week study of the OCSSG can be found on the MEPAG web site [1]. The study was intended to define the contamination problem and to begin to suggest solutions that could provide direction to the engineering teams that design and produce the Mars landed systems. Requirements set by the Planetary Protection Policy in effect for any specific mission do not directly address this question of the potential interference from terrestrial contaminants during in situ measurements.
    Keywords: Lunar and Planetary Science and Exploration
    Type: Lunar and Planetary Science XXXV: Missions and Instruments: Hopes and Hope Fulfilled; LPI-Contrib-1197
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  • 2
    Publication Date: 2018-06-11
    Description: The detailed characterization of organic compounds that might be preserved in rocks, ices, or sedimentary layers on Mars would be a significant step toward resolving the question of the habitability and potential for life on that planet. The fact that the Viking gas chromatograph mass spectrometer (GCMS) did not detect organic compounds should not discourage further investigations since (a) an oxidizing environment in the near surface fines analyzed by Viking is likely to have destroyed many reduced carbon species; (b) there are classes of refractory or partially oxidized species such as carboxylic acids that would not have been detected by the Viking GCMS; and (c) the Viking landing sites are not representative of Mars overall. These factors motivate the development of advanced in situ analytical protocols to carry out a comprehensive survey of organic compounds in martian regolith, ices, and rocks. We combine pyrolysis GCMS for analysis of volatile species, chemical derivatization for transformation of less volatile organics, and laser desorption mass spectrometry (LDMS) for analysis of elements and more refractory, higher-mass organics. To evaluate this approach and enable a comparison with other measurement techniques we analyze organics in Mars simulant samples.
    Keywords: Lunar and Planetary Science and Exploration
    Type: Lunar and Planetary Science XXXV: Missions and Instruments: Hopes and Hope Fulfilled; LPI-Contrib-1197
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  • 3
    Publication Date: 2018-06-06
    Description: The 2010 Arctic Mars Analog Svalbard Expedition (AMASE) investigated two geologic settings using methodologies and techniques being developed or considered for future Mars missions, such as the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL), ExoMars, and Mars Sample Return. The Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) [1] instrument suite, which will be on MSL, consists of a quadrupole mass spectrometer (QMS), a gas chromatograph (GC), and a tunable laser mass spectrometer (TLS); all will be applied to analyze gases created by pyrolysis of samples. During AMASE, a Hiden Evolved Gas Analysis-Mass Spectrometer (EGA-MS) system represented the EGA-MS capability of SAM. Another MSL instrument, CheMin, will use x-ray diffraction (XRD) and x-ray fluorescence (XRF) to perform quantitative mineralogical characterization of samples [e.g., 2]. Field-portable versions of CheMin were used during AMASE. AMASE 2010 focused on two sites that represented biotic and abiotic analogs. The abiotic site was the basaltic Sigurdfjell vent complex, which contains Mars-analog carbonate cements including carbonate globules which are excellent analogs for the globules in the ALH84001 martian meteorite [e.g., 3, 4]. The biotic site was the Knorringfjell fossil methane seep, which featured carbonates precipitated in a methane-supported chemosynthetic community [5]. This contribution focuses on EGA-MS analyses of samples from each site, with mineralogy comparisons to CheMin team results. The results give insight into organic content and organic-mineral associations, as well as some constraints on the minerals present.
    Keywords: Geophysics
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  • 4
    Publication Date: 2017-10-02
    Description: The next landed missions to Mars, such as the planned Mars Science Laboratory and ExoMars, will require sample analysis capabilities refined well beyond what has been flown to date. A key science objective driving this requirement is the determination of the carbon inventory of Mars, and particularly the detection of organic compounds. While the gas chromatograph mass spectrometers (GC/MS) on the Viking landers did not detect any indigenous organics in near surface fines, it is possible that these measurements were not representative of Mars on the whole. That is, those compounds to which the GC/MS was sensitive would likely not have survived the strong oxidative decomposition in the regolith at the landing sites in question. The near surface fines could very well contain a significant quantity of refractory compounds that would not have been volatilized in the sample ovens on Viking. It is also possible that volatile organics exist on Mars in sedimentary, subsurface, or polar niches.
    Keywords: Lunar and Planetary Science and Exploration
    Type: Sixth International Conference on Mars; LPI-Contrib-1164
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  • 5
    Publication Date: 2017-10-02
    Description: The determination of the abundance and chemical and isotopic composition of organic molecules in comets and those that might be found in protected environments at Mars is a first step toward understanding prebiotic chemistries on these solar system bodies. While future sample return missions from Mars and comets will enable detailed chemical and isotopic analysis with a wide range of analytical techniques, precursor insitu investigations can complement these missions and facilitate the identification of optimal sites for sample return. Robust automated experiments that make efficient use of limited spacecraft power, mass, and data volume resources are required for use by insitu missions. Within these constraints we continue to explore a range of instrument techniques and measurement protocols that can maximize the return from such insitu investigations.
    Keywords: Lunar and Planetary Science and Exploration
    Type: Lunar and Planetary Science XXXVI, Part 13; LPI-Contrib-1234-Pt-13
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  • 6
    Publication Date: 2017-10-02
    Description: Ground-penetrating radar (GPR) offers the exciting possibility of remote sensing below the Martian surface for trapped aquifers. A GPR is currently heading to Mars onboard Mars Express (MEX) and a GPR is in consideration to be onboard Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) in 2005. While such orbital systems offer great potential for polar stratigraphy studies, their ability to penetrate deep into the Martian polar ice is a function of both the intervening ionospheric density and the overlying ground ice conductivity. The influence of both signal-altering layers will be discussed. Polar Ice and Water: Clifford1,2 has suggested
    Keywords: Lunar and Planetary Science and Exploration
    Type: Third International Conference on Mars Polar Science and Exploration; LPI-Contrib-1184
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  • 7
    Publication Date: 2017-10-02
    Description: Montgolfiere balloons can provide a unique near-surface platform for an extended traverse over the polar regions of Mars. During the polar summer, such solar powered balloons would remain in the constant sun of the polar summer and could remain airborne for many weeks or even months as the atmospheric circulation would drive the balloons around the polar region many times before the balloon would cross the terminator. Such a platform for scientific measurements could provide in situ sampling of the atmosphere for trace disequilibrium species that might be indicators of present geological or biological activity in this region. It could furthermore provide high resolution imaging, deep electromagnetic (EM) sounding for subsurface stratigraphy and liquid water, and high spatial resolution neutron measurements of subsurface ice. Technologies for robust balloon deployment on entry and controlled encounters with the surface and near subsurface for sample acquisition in otherwise inaccessible regions are presently being studied and developed with support from NASA.
    Keywords: Exobiology
    Type: Third International Conference on Mars Polar Science and Exploration; LPI-Contrib-1184
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  • 8
    Publication Date: 2004-12-03
    Description: In response to the question 'what to do next' at Mars we explore the value of a high precision in situ measurement of isotopic and trace gas constituents in the atmosphere combined with a similar analysis of gas extracted from near surface rocks and soils. The scientific goals are to advance our understanding of the evolution of the Martian atmosphere and to search for fossils of past geochemical conditions. One element of this program that ties directly to the goals of the Astrobiology Program will be a sensitive search for simple or complex organic molecules contained in the atmosphere and in the solid phase. The broad chemical and isotopic analysis planned insures that a highly successful program will be carried out even if no organics are detected. We will demonstrate that the technology to carry out this Program is presently in hand.
    Keywords: Lunar and Planetary Science and Exploration
    Type: Concepts and Approaches for Mars Exploration; Part 2; 204-205; LPI-Contrib-1062-Pt-2
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  • 9
    Publication Date: 2011-08-24
    Description: The Galileo Probe entered the atmosphere of Jupiter on December 7, 1995. Measurements of the chemical and isotopic composition of the Jovian atmosphere were obtained by the mass spectrometer during the descent over the 0.5 to 21 bar pressure region over a time period of approximately 1 hour. The sampling was either of atmospheric gases directly introduced into the ion source of the mass spectrometer through capillary leaks or of gas, which had been chemically processed to enhance the sensitivity of the measurement to trace species or noble gases. The analysis of this data set continues to be refined based on supporting laboratory studies on an engineering unit. The mixing ratios of the major constituents of the atmosphere hydrogen and helium have been determined as well as mixing ratios or upper limits for several less abundant species including: methane, water, ammonia, ethane, ethylene, propane, hydrogen sulfide, neon, argon, krypton, and xenon. Analysis also suggests the presence of trace levels of other 3 and 4 carbon hydrocarbons, or carbon and nitrogen containing species, phosphine, hydrogen chloride, and of benzene. The data set also allows upper limits to be set for many species of interest which were not detected. Isotope ratios were measured for 3He/4He, D/H, 13C/12C, 20Ne/22Ne, 38Ar/36Ar and for isotopes of both Kr and Xe.
    Keywords: Meteorology and Climatology
    Type: Advances in space research : the official journal of the Committee on Space Research (COSPAR); Volume 21; 11; 1455-61
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  • 10
    Publication Date: 2011-08-24
    Description: The composition of the jovian atmosphere from 0.5 to 21 bars along the descent trajectory was determined by a quadrupole mass spectrometer on the Galileo probe. The mixing ratio of He (helium) to H2 (hydrogen), 0.156, is close to the solar ratio. The abundances of methane, water, argon, neon, and hydrogen sulfide were measured; krypton and xenon were detected. As measured in the jovian atmosphere, the amount of carbon is 2.9 times the solar abundance relative to H2, the amount of sulfur is greater than the solar abundance, and the amount of oxygen is much less than the solar abundance. The neon abundance compared with that of hydrogen is about an order of magnitude less than the solar abundance. Isotopic ratios of carbon and the noble gases are consistent with solar values. The measured ratio of deuterium to hydrogen (D/H) of (5 +/- 2) x 10(-5) indicates that this ratio is greater in solar-system hydrogen than in local interstellar hydrogen, and the 3He/4He ratio of (1.1 +/- 0.2) x 10(-4) provides a new value for protosolar (solar nebula) helium isotopes. Together, the D/H and 3He/4He ratios are consistent with conversion in the sun of protosolar deuterium to present-day 3He.
    Keywords: Meteorology and Climatology
    Type: Science (ISSN 0036-8075); Volume 272; 5263; 846-9
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