26 February 2003 Sterile robotic Mars soil analyzer
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Abstract
Since the 1976 Viking Mission to Mars, follow-on efforts to resolve its controversial life detection results have been thwarted by two heretofore insurmountable difficulties: the huge expense of sterilizing the entire spacecraft to protect the integrity of life detection experiments; and the lack of a practical robotic life detection package that could produce results acceptable as unambiguous by the scientific community. We here present a method that assures sterility and the complete integrity of robotic life detection experiments, all at a negligible cost. Second, we propose a candidate set of integrated, highly sensitive experiments that we believe could produce results acceptable to the vast majority of scientists. In addition to the biology-chemistry issue, the extensively debated oxidative state of the Martian surface and other chemical and physical characteristics of the Martian soil would be determined. We present our concept for a miniaturized instrument that could carry out a number of candidate experiments to achieve the objective.
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Gilbert V. Levin, Gilbert V. Levin, Joseph D. Miller, Joseph D. Miller, Patricia A. Straat, Patricia A. Straat, Richard B. Hoover, Richard B. Hoover, } "Sterile robotic Mars soil analyzer", Proc. SPIE 4859, Instruments, Methods, and Missions for Astrobiology V, (26 February 2003); doi: 10.1117/12.457312; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.457312
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