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miniature variable pressure scanning electron microscope for in-situ imaging and chemical analysisNASA Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) is leading an effort to develop a Miniaturized Variable Pressure Scanning Electron Microscope (MVP-SEM) for in-situ imaging and chemical analysis of uncoated samples. This instrument development will be geared towards operation on Mars and builds on a previous MSFC design of a mini-SEM for the moon (funded through the NASA Planetary Instrument Definition and Development Program). Because Mars has a dramatically different environment than the moon, modifications to the MSFC lunar mini-SEM are necessary. Mainly, the higher atmospheric pressure calls for the use of an electron gun that can operate at High Vacuum, rather than Ultra-High Vacuum. The presence of a CO2-rich atmosphere also allows for the incorporation of a variable pressure system that enables the in-situ analysis of nonconductive geological specimens. Preliminary testing of Mars meteorites in a commercial Environmental SEM(Tradmark) (FEI) confirms the usefulness of lowcurrent/low-accelerating voltage imaging and highlights the advantages of using the Mars atmosphere for environmental imaging. The unique capabilities of the MVP-SEM make it an ideal tool for pursuing key scientific goals of NASA's Flagship Mission Max-C; to perform in-situ science and collect and cache samples in preparation for sample return from Mars.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Gaskin, Jessica A.
(NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL, United States)
Jerman, Gregory
(NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL, United States)
Gregory, Don
(Alabama Univ. Huntsville, AL, United States)
Sampson, Allen R.
(Advanced Research Systems Saint Charles, IL, United States)
Date Acquired
August 26, 2013
Publication Date
March 3, 2012
Subject Category
Lunar and Planetary Science and Exploration
Report/Patent Number
Meeting Information
2012 IEEE Aerospace Conference(Big Sky, MT)
Distribution Limits