20-EPN2-015: In-situ measurement and sampling of biosignature-hosting products in support of organics detection in the context of ExoMars 2022
Visit by Marco Ferrari and Simone De Angelis, IAPS-INAF (Italy) to TA1.2 Rio Tinto (Spain).
Dates of visit: 11-16 July 2022
Report Summary: This project aims at sampling and performing a wide set of VIS-NIR field measurements of weathering products (e.g., sulfates, clays), rocks with hydrothermal origin, and deposits showing evidence of biosignatures. To achieve this goal, during our visit we performed 195 measurement spots with the FieldSpec 4 portable spectrometer in the range of 0.35-2.5 µm and collected 47 samples in different forms. Among all the collected samples, three of them are consistent rock blocks. This is because they will be used as a test for the laboratory model of the Ma_MISS instrument that will be able to drill them and perform the spectroscopic measurements in the borehole wall.
This campaign will also allow us to confirm the capability of the Ma_MISS instrument to detect spectral signatures of organics in geological samples containing biosignatures. With the spectroscopic data obtained in the field and the laboratory on the collected samples, we will build a spectral database that will be useful to the scientific community.
These activities on terrestrial analogs have proven useful for understanding life in extreme conditions and how these can be preserved in the form of biological signatures and detected by the scientific instruments that will be on board future missions to Mars.
In addition, this work helps in acquiring crucial preparation for the exploitation and interpretation of the scientific data that the Ma_MISS instrument will provide during the active phase of the mission.
Read full scientific report with kind permission of Marco Ferrari.
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