Mass Spectrometers for In-Situ Resource Utilisation

Morse, A. D.; Abernethy, F.; Barber, S. J.; Lim, S.; Sargeant, Hannah; Sheridan, S. and Wright, I. P. (2019). Mass Spectrometers for In-Situ Resource Utilisation. In: Lunar ISRU 2019, 15-17 Jul 2019, Columbia, Maryland, United States.



The Open University has a heritage in developing small mass spectrometers for planetary lander payloads. The first was a 6 cm radius magnetic sector instrument for light element isotopic analysis (H, C, N, and O), part of the Gas Analysis Package (GAP) on the Beagle 2 Mars lander. The second was the Ptolemy ion trap mass spectrometer (ITMS) on the Philae lander which successfully operated and returned results during the comet landing in November 2014. The Ptolemy ion trap unit fits within a 10 x 10 x 10 cm cube, including RF, detector and ion source electronics and is capable of a mass range from 10 to 150 amu at unit resolution. Development is continuing for purposes ranging from lander instruments (ProSPA and LUVMI), to rugged deployable probes (penetrators) and for process monitoring within ISRU plant. Many of the planned developments are aimed at the various stages of lunar ISRU, from resource prospecting to demonstration and optimisation of extraction processes.

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