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29 March 2019 Sample containerization and planetary protection using brazing for breaking the chain of contact to Mars
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Abstract
Returning samples from Mars to Earth in a future NASA mission would require protection of our planet from the potential risks of bringing uncontrolled biological materials back with the samples. Part of the planetary protection process would involve a process called “breaking the chain of contact (BTC)”, where any returned material reaching Earth for further analysis would have to be sealed inside a container at extremely high confidence. The sterilization process would require destroying any potential biological materials that may contaminate the external surface of the container. A novel process for containing returning samples has been conceived and is under development at JPL. The process consists of using induction heated brazing to synchronously sterilize, separate, seam and seal the container. The braze material is heated to the melting temperature that is higher than 500°C and, thus, it assures sterilizing exposed areas since all carbon bonds are broken above this temperature. The container consists of double walls with “Earth clean” interstitial space. The process consists of two-steps, where one is intended to be prepared on Earth and the second would be executed on orbit around Mars. The latest results of this study will be described and discussed.
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Yoseph Bar-Cohen, Mircea Badescu, Stewart Sherrit, Xiaoqi Bao, Hyeong Jae Lee, Erik Bombela, and Sukhwinder Sandhu "Sample containerization and planetary protection using brazing for breaking the chain of contact to Mars ", Proc. SPIE 10968, Behavior and Mechanics of Multifunctional Materials XIII, 1096802 (29 March 2019); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2513969
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