The potential return of Mars sample material is of great interest to the planetary science community, as it would enable extensive analysis of samples with highly sensitive laboratory instruments. It is important to make sure such a mission concept would not bring any living microbes, which may possibly exist on Mars, back to Earth’s environment. In order to ensure the isolation of Mars microbes from Earth’s Atmosphere, a brazing sealing and sterilizing technique was proposed to break the Mars-to-Earth contamination path. Effectively, heating the brazing zone in high vacuum space and controlling the sample temperature for integrity are key challenges to the implementation of this technique. The break-thechain procedures for container configurations, which are being considered, were simulated by multi-physics finite element models. Different heating methods including induction and resistive/radiation were evaluated. The temperature profiles of Martian samples in a proposed container structure were predicted. The results show that the sealing and sterilizing process can be controlled such that the samples temperature is maintained below the level that may cause damage, and that the brazing technique is a feasible approach to breaking the contamination path.
Xiaoqi Bao, Mircea Badescu, Stewart Sherrit, Yoseph Bar-Cohen, and Sergio Campos, "Heating and thermal control of brazing technique to break contamination path for potential Mars sample return," Proc. SPIE 10168, Sensors and Smart Structures Technologies for Civil, Mechanical, and Aerospace Systems 2017, 101680R (Presented at SPIE Smart Structures and Materials + Nondestructive Evaluation and Health Monitoring: March 27, 2017; Published: 12 April 2017); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2258544.
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