Mars Organic Molecule Analyzer (MOMA) Mass Spectrometer Flight Model and Future Ion Trap-Based Planetary Instruments
Abstract:The Mars Organic Molecule Analyzer (MOMA) investigation on the 2018 ExoMars rover will examine the chemical composition of samples acquired from depths of up to two meters below the martian surface, where organics may be protected from radiative and oxidative degradation. MOMA combines pyrolysis gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GCMS) of bulk powder samples and Mars ambient laser desorption mass spectrometry (LDMS) surface analysis, using a single ion trap MS. This dual source design enables MOMA to detect compounds over a wide range of molecular weights and volatilities. The structure of any detected organics may be further examined using MOMA’s tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS) mode. The flight model (FM) ion trap sensor and electronics have been assembled under the extremely clean and sterile conditions required by ExoMars, and have met or exceeded all performance specifications during initial functional tests. After Mars ambient thermal cycling and calibration, the FM will be delivered as a subsystem of MOMA to rover integration in mid-2016. There MOMA will join complementary rover instruments such as the Raman and MicrOmega spectrometers designed to analyze common drill samples.
Following the MOMA design, linear ion trap mass spectrometer (LITMS)-based instruments are under development for future missions. LITMS adds enhanced capabilities such as precision (point-by-point) analysis of drill cores, negative ion detection, a wider mass range, and higher temperature pyrolysis with precision evolved gas analysis, while remaining highly compact and robust. Each of the capabilities of LITMS has been demonstrated on breadboard hardware. The next phase will realize an end-to-end brassboard at flight scale that will meet stringent technology readiness level (TRL) 6 criteria, indicating readiness for development toward missions to Mars, comets, asteroids, outer solar system moons, and beyond.