An evaluation of in situ analysis and sample return in the exploration of Mars

Sims, M.R.; Pullan, D.; Pillinger, C.T. and Wright, I.P. (2002). An evaluation of in situ analysis and sample return in the exploration of Mars. Planetary and Space Science, 50(7-8) pp. 657–668.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/S0032-0633(02)00015-6

Abstract

In this paper, the case for sample return is examined against in situ analysis and the merits of each approach are discussed. In situ analysis techniques are highly advanced with a large number of methods under continuing development. The authors advise some caution with regard to Mars sample return and conclude that in situ analysis provides a powerful tool necessary to document any sample prior to return by providing complementary data and science. Furthermore, in situ analysis should at least be used as insurance in the near future. If isolation of a sample is required for bio-hazard reasons e.g. in space in a facility attached or associated with the International Space Station then instrumentation developed for in situ analysis will be necessary for sample return analysis, as such instrumentation will be "space qualified". In addition it should be noted that similar in situ instrumentation will be required for manned Mars expeditions.

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