Potential for analysis of carbonaceous matter on Mars using Raman spectroscopy

Ian B. Hutchinson*, John Parnell, Howell G. M. Edwards, Jan Jehlicka, Craig P. Marshall, Liam V. Harris, Richard Ingley

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The ESA/Roscosmos ExoMars rover will be launched in 2018. The primary aim of the mission will be to find evidence of extinct or extant life by extracting samples from the subsurface of Mars. The rover will incorporate a drill that is capable of extracting cores from depths of up to 2 m, a Sample Preparation and Distribution System (SPDS) that will crush the core into small grains and a suite of analytical instruments. A key component of the analytical suite will be the Raman Laser Spectrometer (RLS) that will be used to probe the molecular and mineralogical composition of the samples. In this work we consider the capability of the proposed Raman spectrometer to detect reduced carbon (possibly associated with evidence for extinct life) and to identify the level of thermal alteration/maturity. The Raman analysis of 21 natural samples of shale (originating from regions exhibiting different levels of thermal maturity) is described and it is shown that reduced carbon levels as low as 0.08% can be readily detected. It is also demonstrated that the Raman spectra obtained with the instrument can be used to distinguish between samples exhibiting high and low levels of thermal maturity and that reduced carbon can be detected in samples exposed to significant levels of oxidation (as expected on the surface of Mars).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)184-190
Number of pages7
JournalPlanetary and space science
Volume103
Early online date26 Jul 2014
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Nov 2014

Fingerprint

Raman spectroscopy
mars
Mars
thermal maturity
carbon
spectrometer
thermal alteration
sample preparation
distribution system
shale
laser
probe
oxidation
laser spectrometers
Raman lasers
European Space Agency
analysis
spectrometers
Raman spectra
preparation

Keywords

  • Carbonaceous matter
  • Mars
  • Planetary exploration
  • Raman spectroscopy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics

Cite this

Hutchinson, I. B., Parnell, J., Edwards, H. G. M., Jehlicka, J., Marshall, C. P., Harris, L. V., & Ingley, R. (2014). Potential for analysis of carbonaceous matter on Mars using Raman spectroscopy. Planetary and space science, 103, 184-190. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pss.2014.07.006

Potential for analysis of carbonaceous matter on Mars using Raman spectroscopy. / Hutchinson, Ian B.; Parnell, John; Edwards, Howell G. M.; Jehlicka, Jan; Marshall, Craig P.; Harris, Liam V.; Ingley, Richard.

In: Planetary and space science, Vol. 103, 15.11.2014, p. 184-190.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Hutchinson, IB, Parnell, J, Edwards, HGM, Jehlicka, J, Marshall, CP, Harris, LV & Ingley, R 2014, 'Potential for analysis of carbonaceous matter on Mars using Raman spectroscopy', Planetary and space science, vol. 103, pp. 184-190. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pss.2014.07.006
Hutchinson, Ian B. ; Parnell, John ; Edwards, Howell G. M. ; Jehlicka, Jan ; Marshall, Craig P. ; Harris, Liam V. ; Ingley, Richard. / Potential for analysis of carbonaceous matter on Mars using Raman spectroscopy. In: Planetary and space science. 2014 ; Vol. 103. pp. 184-190.
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