Preserving the chemical and structural integrity of samples to be returned from Mars is critical to achieving MSR’s science goals.
Given our knowledge of the nature of the samples recovered at Jezero by Perseverance, at least two options should be tried to open the sample tubes: (1) One or two radial cuts in the end of the tube to remove the sample. (2) Two radial cuts at the ends of the tube and two longitudinal cuts to lift the upper half of the tube and access the sample.
Strategy 1 is likely to minimize contamination, but risks affecting the physical integrity of weakly consolidated samples.
Strategy 2 will be optimal to preserve the physical integrity of the samples, but it increases the risk of contamination and mishandling of the sample, since more manipulations and additional equipment will be required.
Therefore, a flexible approach to opening sample tubes is required, and several options must be available, depending on the nature of the returned rock samples. Both opening strategies 1 and 2 may need to be available when samples are returned to handle different sample types (for example, loosely bound sediments vs. hardened magmatic rocks).
This question should be revisited after engineering tests are performed on analog samples. MSR sample tubes will have to be opened under strict BSL4 conditions and this aspect must be integrated into the planning.
N. Dauphas, SS Russell, D. Beaty, F. Thiessen, J. Barnes, L. Bonal, J. Bridges, T. Bristow, J. Eiler, L. Ferriere, T. Fornaro, J. Gattacceca, B. Hoffman , EJ Javaux, T. Kleine, HY McSween, M. Prasad, L. Rampe, M. Schmidt, B. Schoene, KL Siebach, J. Stern, N. Tosca
Comments: 8 pages, 3 figures, 1 table, NASA-ESA Mars Rock Team Report
Subjects: Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics (astro-ph.IM); Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP); Geophysics (physics.geo-ph)
Cite as: arXiv:2301.04694 [astro-ph.IM] (or arXiv:2301.04694v1 [astro-ph.IM] for this version)
From: Nicholas Dauphas
[v1] Wednesday, January 11, 2023 20:00:15 UTC (745 KB)