Speaker: Ricardo Arevalo, University of Maryland
Topic: Laser desorption mass spectrometry with an Orbitrap for planetary exploration
Date: Monday, January 10, 2022
Time: 6:45 Virtual Social, 7:15 pm Presentation
Location: See Zoom invite in email on January 6
Abstract: Laser desorption mass spectrometry (LDMS) techniques enable spatially-resolved chemical analysis of planetary materials, including major/minor/trace element abundances and organic inventory. In the search for prospective biomarkers, the Mars Organic Molecule Analyzer (MOMA) onboard the ExoMars Rosalind Franklin rover will be the first LDMS instrument to characterize the composition of another planet in situ. Here, we describe a next-generation LDMS instrument that integrates a pulsed laser source capable of active beam scanning and precisely-controlled attenuation, and an Orbitrap mass analyzer that delivers 100× higher mass resolution and mass accuracy compared to legacy sensors. A partnership between the University of Maryland, NASA GSFC, the French CosmOrbitrap Consortium, and Thermo Scientific has enabled the development of an engineering test unit that meets the form, fit, and function of a flight instrument targeting the surfaces of Europa, Enceladus, and the Moon.