Miniaturised mass spectrometery for future space flight applications

Sheridan, S.; Barber, S. J.; Morgan, G. H.; Morse, A. D. and Wright, I. P. (2007). Miniaturised mass spectrometery for future space flight applications. In: 5th International Planetary Probe Workshop, 25-29 Jun 2007, Bordeaux, France.



Mass spectrometry is one of the most powerful and widely applicable analytical techniques available to planetary scientists, and mass spectrometers of various types have traditionally formed the heart of many spacecraft orbiter, probe and lander payloads. However, they have also been relatively resource intensive, placing substantial mass and power constraints on mission architectures, putting mass spectrometry beyond the reach of some smaller mission payloads. Recent advances in ionisation, analyser and detection components allow smaller instruments to be built bringing mass spectrometry into the reach of smaller spacecraft platforms. Taking two recent examples, the 4.5 kg GC/MS Ptolemy on the Rosetta lander Philae, and the 6.5 kg Gas Analysis Package on Beagle2 as a starting point we will outline the status of a new generation of future instrumentation, including a 2 kg dust composition detector for a Europa orbiter mission proposal, a 500 g device to analyse volatiles in permanently shaded Lunar regions, a 150 g instrument designed to be carried on a mole or melting probe, and a sub-100 gram mass spectrometer for use in planetary microprobes.

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