Evita - a miniature mass spectrometer to identify and quantify volatiles evolved from mercury's regolith

Sheridan, Simon; Morse, Andrew; Barber, Simeon; Wright, Ian and Pillinger, Colin (2003). Evita - a miniature mass spectrometer to identify and quantify volatiles evolved from mercury's regolith. In: EGS - AGU - EUG Joint Assembly, 6-11 Apr 2003, Nice, France.

Abstract

The Evolved Volatiles Ion Trap Analyser (EVITA) is an instrument based around a compact miniature mass spectrometer, and is an evolution of the ion trap device incorporated in the Ptolemy instrument on the Rosetta cometary lander. EVITA has been designed to be located within the surface penetrating instrumented mole proposed for the BepiColombo lander, and will enable the profile of volatile material within the hermean regolith to be determined. The mass spectrometer, including ionisation device and electron multiplier detector, and a sample crucible or hot plate, are all located within the body of the mole. As the mole is driven to depth a passive sampling method will deliver soil fines to the hot plate. Heating the plate in a stepwise profile will liberate any volatile species into the mass spectrometer, which will then identify and quantify the evolved gases. A method to regenerate the hot plate for subsequent analyses by removing previously analysed soil is currently under evaluation. A size representative EVITA prototype has been developed, and example mass spectra will be presented.

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