Advanced Sensors and Measurement Technologies for Astrobiology Applications 1999-01-2205
The current and projected state of the art in sensors and measurement technologies can provide an impressive arsenal of tools for astrobiology research. Major targets of Astrobiology interest include Mars, Europa, Titan, comets, Space Station and Earth. Thousands of sensors ranging from fingernail size to matchbook size exist along with a wide array of miniaturized chemical laboratories that can fit on a compact disk, and a host of other analytical and imaging instruments that can fit within soda can volumes. However, relatively few are ready for flight. The state of the art of sample management -- sample acquisition, preparation, distribution, and preservation -- is seriously deficient and precludes the use of the vast array of capabilities available in miniaturized analytical instrumentation. This problem is shared by DARPA and the biotech industries as well as NASA and may provide the basis for collaborative development.