Performances of the Mars Organic Molecule Analyzer (MOMA) GC-MS suite aboard ExoMars Mission
Abstract:The Mars Organic Molecule Analyzer (MOMA) aboard the ExoMars rover (Pasteur) will be a key analytical tool in providing chemical (molecular) information from the solid samples collected by the rover, with a particular focus on the characterization of the organic content. Samples will be extracted as deep as 2 meters below the martian surface to minimize effects of radiation and oxidation on organic materials. The core of the MOMA instrument is a dual source UV laser desorption / ionization (LDI) and pyrolysis gas chromatography (pyr-GC) ion trap mass spectrometer (ITMS) which provides the unique capability to characterize a broad range of compounds, including both of volatile and non-volatile species. Samples which undergo GC-ITMS analysis may be submitted to a derivatization process, consisting of the reaction of the sample components with specific reactants (MTBSTFA , DMF-DMA  or TMAH ) which increase the volatility of complex organic species.
With the goal to optimize this instrumentation, and especially the GC-ITMS coupling, a series of tests is currently being carried out with prototypes of MOMA instrumentation and with the ETU models wich is similar to the flight model. The MOMA oven and tapping station are also part of these end-to-end experiments. Qualitative and quantitative tests has been done on gas, liquid and solid samples. The results obtained demonstrate the current status of the end-to-end performance of the gas chromatography-mass spectrometry mode of operation. Both prototypes individually meet the performance requirements, but this work particularly demonstrates the capabilities of the critical GC-MS interface.
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Acknowledgements: Funding provided by the Mars Exploration Program (point of contact, George Tahu, NASA/HQ). MOMA is a collaboration between NASA and ESA (PI Goesmann, MPS). MOMA-GC team acknowledges support from the French Space Agency (CNES), French National Programme of Planetology (PNP), National French Council (CNRS), Pierre Simon Laplace Institute.