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Experimental simulations of oxidizing conditions and organic decomposition on the surface of MarsOne important scientific objective of a Mars Rover Sample Return mission would be to look for traces of living and extinct life on Mars. An instrument to search for organic carbon may be the simplest instrument that could screen samples which are interesting from a biological point of view. An experimental program is described which would help to understand the nature of the oxidizing soil on Mars and the mechanism responsible for organic degradation on the Martian surface. This is approached by lab simulations of the actual conditions that occur on Mars, particularly the oxidant production by atmospheric photochemistry, and the combined effects of UV light and oxidants in decomposing organic compounds. The results will be used to formulate models of the photochemistry of the atmospheric, the atmosphere-soil interaction, and the diffusion of reactive compounds into the soils. This information will provide insights and constraints on the design of a sampling strategy to search for organic compounds on Mars.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Stoker, C. R. (NASA Ames Research Center Moffett Field, CA, United States)
Mancinelli, Rocco L. (NASA Ames Research Center Moffett Field, CA, United States)
Mckay, Christopher P. (NASA Ames Research Center Moffett Field, CA, United States)
Date Acquired
September 5, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 1988
Publication Information
Publication: Lunar and Planetary Inst., Workshop on Mars Sample Return Science
Subject Category
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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IDRelationTitle19890008917Analytic PrimaryWorkshop on Mars Sample Return Science