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Highly Sensitive Tunable Diode Laser Spectrometers for In Situ Planetary ExplorationThis paper describes highly sensitive tunable diode laser spectrometers suitable for in situ planetary exploration. The technology developed at JPL is based on wavelength modulated cavity enhanced absorption spectroscopy. It is capable of sensitively detecting chemical signatures of life through the abundance of biogenic molecules and their isotopic composition, and chemicals such as water necessary for habitats of life. The technology would be suitable for searching for biomarkers, extinct life, potential habitats of extant life, and signatures of ancient climates on Mars; and for detecting biomarkers, prebiotic chemicals and habitats of life in the outer Solar System. It would be useful for prospecting for water on the Moon and asteroids, and characterizing its isotopic composition. Deployment on the Moon could provide ground truth to the recent remote measurements and help to uncover precious records of the early bombardment history of the inner Solar System buried at the shadowed poles, and elucidate the mechanism for the generation of near-surface water in the illuminated regions. The technology would also be useful for detecting other volatile molecules in planetary atmospheres and subsurface reservoirs, isotopic characterization of planetary materials, and searching for signatures of extinct life preserved in solid matrices.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
External Source(s)
Vasudev, Ram
(Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA, United States)
Mansour, Kamjou
(Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA, United States)
Webster, Christopher R.
(Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA, United States)
Date Acquired
May 21, 2015
Publication Date
March 2, 2013
Subject Category
Lasers And Masers
Electronics And Electrical Engineering
Lunar And Planetary Science And Exploration
Meeting Information
2013 IEEE Aerospace Conference(Big Sky, MT)
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