The CheMin (Chemistry and Mineralogy) instrument on the Mars Science Laboratory rover Curiosity uses a CCD detector and a Co-anode X-ray tube source to acquire both mineralogy (from the pattern of Co diffraction) and chemical information (from energies of fluoresced X-rays). A key component of the CheMin instrument is the ability to move grains within sample cells during analysis, providing multiple, random grain orientations that disperse diffracted X-ray photons along Debye rings rather than producing discrete Laue spots. This movement is accomplished by piezoelectric vibration of the sample cells. A cryocooler is used to maintain the CCD at a temperature at about -50 C in order to obtain energy resolution better than 250 eV, allowing discrimination of diffracted Co K X-rays from Fe K and other fluorescent X-rays. A detailed description of CheMin is provided in . The CheMin flight model (FM) is mounted within the body of Curiosity and has been operating on Mars since August 6, 2012. An essentially identical sister instrument, the CheMin demonstration model (DM), is operated in a Mars environment chamber at JPL.
Space Sciences (General)
44th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference; 18-22 Mar. 2013; The Woodlands, TX; United States