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26 February 2003 Sterile robotic Mars soil analyzer
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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.
© (2003) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Gilbert V. Levin, Joseph D. Miller, Patricia A. Straat, and Richard B. Hoover "Sterile robotic Mars soil analyzer", Proc. SPIE 4859, Instruments, Methods, and Missions for Astrobiology V, (26 February 2003);


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