The CheMin Mineralogical Instrument on the MSL Mission and the Field-Portable TERRA Version Available for NAI Field Campaigns

Presenter: David Blake, NASA Ames Research Center
When: June 30, 2008 11AM PDT

Dr. Blake will describe the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) ’09 mission and its CheMin XRD/XRF instrument. A terrestrial field-deployable version of CheMin (called “TERRA”) will be available to perform in situ analyses during NAI field campaigns. The TERRA instrument has already been proven to be invaluable on field expeditions to Spitsbergen (Norway), the dry valleys of Antarctica, Canada (twice), and Rio Tinto (Spain).

TERRA instruments will be provided (for the cost of shipment and refurbishment) to any funded NAI field campaign. This “loaner XRD” program, which we call “Johnny Appleseed CheMin,” will provide definitive mineralogical identifications for NAI field campaigns, as well as help to create a database of minerals in rocks and soils for use with MSL’09. A further benefit to the program is that a large number of Astrobiologists will become familiar with CheMin XRD data and will be able to contribute to the interpretations of rocks and soils analyzed by the CheMin flight instrument during MSL ’09.

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