TEMMI: a three-dimensional exploration multispectral microscopic imager for planetary exploration

Preston, L. J.; Osinski, G. R.; Banerjee, N. R.; Daly, M.; Dietrich, P.; Doucet, M.; Kerr, A.; Robert, M.; Southam, G.; Spray, J. G.; Talbot, M.; Taylor, A. and Tremblay, M. (2011). TEMMI: a three-dimensional exploration multispectral microscopic imager for planetary exploration. In: GAC/ MAC - MAC/AMC - SEG - SGA Joint Annual Meeting: Navigating Past & Future Change, 25-27 May 2011, Ottawa, Canada.

URL: http://www.gac.ca/wp/


A microscope represents one of the most basic tools required for geology and astrobiology, and it is anticipated that most, if not all, future surface missions to the Moon and Mars will carry one. TEMMI (a Three-dimensional Exploration Multispectral Microscopic Imager) has been developed through a collaborative initiative, spearheaded by the Canadian Space Agency, involving two industrial partners – MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associated Ltd (MDA), and National Optics Institute (INO) – and three academic science partners – The University of Western Ontario, The University of New Brunswick and York University – to conduct geological and astrobiological investigations in Lunar and Mars analogue environments. In the fields of geology and astrobiology, the ability to capture a visual record of the terrain – from the regional (km) to outcrop (m to cm) to microscopic (mm to micrometre) scale – and of sites visited, is invaluable. Microscopy, in particular, provides the fundamental context and empirical information required to fully understand the origin and significance of samples.

TEMMI can be used to study the physical and structural properties of surfaces, both of rocks, minerals and the dusty regolith to contribute to the geophysical analysis of an area and to the overall geological and mineralogical interpretation of the sites of interest. Past environmental conditions can be constructed, weathering effects on different lithologies studied, and the transportation of particles across the planetary surface mapped. Specific objectives are to:
• Investigate the physical properties of minerals;
• Recognize common minerals and identify unknown phases;
• Understand the relationships between the internal (composition and structure) and external properties of the minerals;
• Identify traces of reactions and physical conditions that affect the stability and occurrence of minerals;
• Interpret the broader significance of mineral compositions and structures;
• Investigate the effects of heat pressure on properties of minerals;
• Constrain the sizes and shapes of regolith particles on the surface or particles precipitating out of the atmosphere.

This instrument can also be used to study the morphology of a potential biological sample and identify structures that may be characteristic of past or present biological activity. TEMMI can utilize the interaction of visible and IR light with the crystalline and non-crystalline materials to detect possible biogenic material such as kerogen or fatty acids and proteins preserved within the rocks and minerals. It can also be used to identify biomolecules through UV fluorescence, create 3D images, and aid in identification of a sample return site.

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