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A Backscatter Moessbauer Spectrometer (BaMS) for use on MarsThe use of Moessbauer spectroscopy for in situ analysis on the surface of Mars was proposed and the design and implementation of a backscatter Moessbauer spectrometer (BaMS) instrument suitable for planetary missions to the surfaces of Mars (MESUR), the Moon (Artemis and lunar outpost), asteroids, or other solid solar system objects is discussed. The BaMS instrument is designed to be capable of analysis of a sample for the mineralogy of its iron-bearing phases without any sample preparation. A requirement of lander missions to Mars is instrumentation for in situ mineralogical analyses. Such analyses provide data needed for primary characterization as to the type of surface materials present and by inference the processes that formed and subsequently modified them. For purposes of providing diagnostic information about naturally occurring materials, the element iron is particularly important because it is abundant and multivalent (primarily 0, +2, and +3 oxidation states). Knowledge of the oxidation state of iron and its distribution among iron-bearing mineralogies tightly constrains the types of materials present. The pivotal role of iron was already recognized in 1978 by COMPLEX, who recommended development of flight instruments that would identify mineralogy and the oxidation state of iron in planetary surface materials. The near-term U.S. strategy for the exploration of Mars is the MESUR (Mars Environmental SURvey) program, which entails emplacement of a network of small, long-lived surface landers. For the Moon, BaMS was recommended as part of a three-instrument landed payload for the Artemis missions, targeted for 1997. BaMS would prospect for ilmenite, an oxygen resource material, and provide data to assess the maturity of lunar soil. Because instrumental characteristics are low mass, low volume, and low power consumption, BaMS is suitable for implementation on even small landers and rovers, as are being envisioned in MESUR and Artemis concepts. In addition to providing highly diagnostic data, a BaMS analyzer is inherently simple and, as is highly desirable for remote operation, no sample preparation is required.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Legacy CDMS
Document Type
Agresti, D. G.
(Alabama Univ. Birmingham., United States)
Morris, R. V.
(NASA Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Wills, E. L.
(Alabama Univ. Birmingham., United States)
Shelfer, T. D.
(Alabama Univ. Birmingham., United States)
Pimperl, M. M.
(Alabama Univ. Birmingham., United States)
Shen, M.-H.
(Alabama Univ. Birmingham., United States)
Nguyen, T.
(Lockheed Engineering and Sciences Co. Houston, TX., United States)
Date Acquired
September 6, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 1992
Publication Information
Publication: Lunar and Planetary Inst., MSATT Workshop on Innovative Instrumentation for the In Situ Study of Atmosphere-Surface Interactions on Mars
Subject Category
Instrumentation And Photography
Accession Number
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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