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- The Mars Spark Source Prototype (MSSP) hardware has been developed as part of a proof of concept system for the detection of trace metals such as lead, cadmium, and arsenic in Martian dusts and soils. A spark discharge produces plasma from a soil sample and detectors measure the optical emission from metals in the plasma that will allow their identification and quantification. Trace metal measurements are vital for the assessment of the potential toxicity of the Martian environment for human exploration. The current method of X-ray fluorescence can yield concentrations only of major species. Other instruments are incompatible with the volume, weight, and power constraints for a Mars mission. The instrument will be developed primarily for use in the Martian environment, but would be adaptable for terrestrial use in environmental monitoring. This paper describes the Mars Spark Source Prototype hardware, the results of the characterization tests, and future plans for hardware development.
- Other Subject(s):
- NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS) Collection.
- Document ID: 19990116903.
- No Copyright.
View MARC record | catkey: 15642206