Analysis of Water Ice and Water Ice/Soil Mixtures Using Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy: Application to Mars Polar Exploration

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Abstract:

Recently, laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) has been developed for the elemental analysis of geological samples for application to space exploration. There is also interest in using the technique for the analysis of water ice and ice/dust mixtures located at the Mars polar regions. The application is a compact instrument for a lander or rover to the Martian poles to interrogate stratified layers of ice and dusts that contain a record of past geologic history, believed to date back several million years. Here we present results of a study of the use of LIBS for the analysis of water ice and ice/dust mixtures in situ and at short stand-off distances (< 6.5 m) using experimental parameters appropriate for a compact instrument. Characteristics of LIBS spectra of water ice, ice/soil mixtures, element detection limits, and the ability to ablate through ice samples to monitor subsurface dust deposits are discussed.

Keywords: ICE/DUST MIXTURES; LASER-INDUCED BREAKDOWN SPECTROSCOPY; LIBS; MARS; WATER ICE

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1366/0003702041655377

Affiliations: 1: Group-NMT-15, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, New Mexico 87545 2: Group C-ADI, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, New Mexico 87545 3: Group ISR-1, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, New Mexico 87545 4: CEA Saclay, DEN/DPC/SCP/LRSI, 91191 Gif sur Yvette Cedex, France 5: Laboratoire d'Astrophysique, Observatoire Midi-Pyrénées, 14 avenue Edouard Belin, 31400 Toulouse, France

Publication date: August 1, 2004

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