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Technical Paper

Miniature High-Performance Infrared Spectrometer for the Monitoring of Spacecraft Vital Life-Support Systems

Manned space systems have many requirements for the monitoring of vital life support systems such as the cabin air quality and the quality of the recycled water supply. Infrared spectroscopy probes the characteristic vibrational and rotational modes of chemical bonds in molecules to provide information about both the chemical composition and the bonding configuration of a sample. The significant advantage of the IR spectral technique is that it can be used with minimal consumables to simultaneously detect a large variety of chemical and biochemical species with high chemical specificity. To date, relatively large Fourier Transform (FT-IR) spectrometers employing variations of the Michelson interferometer have been successfully employed in space for various IR spectroscopy applications. However, FT-IR systems are mechanically complex, bulky (> 15 kg), and require considerable processing.
Technical Paper

Inukshuk Landed Robotic Canadian Mission to Mars using a Miniature Sample Analysis Lab for Planetary Mineralogy and Microbiology

This paper discusses the Inukshuk landed rover mission to Mars that is currently undergoing the Phase 0 mission study for the Canadian Space Agency. The Inukshuk landed rover mission addresses key science themes for planetary exploration; focusing on the search for hydrated mineralogy and subsurface water sites that can provide evidence of past or present life. New exploration and science will be accomplished using an innovative tethered combination of a small rover and a self-elevating sky-cam aerostat. The elevating visible (VIS) imager, at about 10 m altitude, will provide an informative high-resolution 2-D view of the rover below and surrounding terrain to greatly assist the semi-autonomous navigation of the rover around obstacles and selection of sites for detailed subsurface exploration.
Technical Paper

Integrated Thin-Film Smart Coatings with Dynamically-Tunable Thermo-Optical Characteristics

This paper presents experimental results regarding a new approach to smart radiator devices (SRD) employing a smart, integrated thin-film structure based on V1-x-yMxNyOn that can be applied to existing thermal blankets such as Kapton or to thermal radiators such as Al. The smart coating facilitates thermal control by dynamically modifying the thermo-optic characteristics of the underlying substrate in response to the ambient temperature and/or a control voltage. This methodology has significant advantages over competitive technologies in terms of weight, cost, structural simplicity, and integration with the space structure. The effective emissivity of the film/substrate structure can be reduced dynamically by changing the behavior of the smart coating from insulator to metallic. High quality VO2 films have been prepared using a hybrid reactive laser ablation technique.
Technical Paper

In Situ Planetary Resource Exploration using Miniature Robotic Subsurface Sample Analysis

The feasibility of extended human presence on the Moon and Mars depends critically on in-situ resource utilization (ISRU) to mitigate the high interplanetary transportation costs. Key resource requirements include water, oxygen, fuel and a variety of building materials. This paper discusses the robotic instrumentation associated with the LORE (Lunar Origins and Resource Exploration) miniature payload proposed for JAXA's Selene-2, and the potential follow-on CSA INUKSHUK landed-Mars mission. LORE would for the first time systematically explore the lunar surface and subsurface ice distribution, dust, mineralogy and resources using combined UV/VIS/MIR reflectance spectroscopy. The spectral differences between ilmenite and other lunar minerals in the ultraviolet region will be exploited for mapping ilmenite distribution and abundances on the lunar surface and subsurface.
Technical Paper

Advanced Integrated-Optic and MNT Technologies for the Infrared Spectral Monitoring of Spacecraft Vital Life-Support Systems and Remote Astronaut Health Diagnostics

Manned space systems have many requirements for the monitoring of vital life support systems including quality of cabin air and the recycled water supply, as well as direct monitoring of vital indicators of astronaut health. Infrared (IR) spectroscopy is an attractive monitoring technique because it requires minimal consumables while providing relatively high chemical specificity for the detection of a wide variety of biochemicals using the characteristic vibrational modes of chemical bonds. For space-based systems, the important drivers are reliability, power consumption, mass and simplicity of operation. MPB has advanced its IOSPEC™ technology for miniature integrated IR spectrometers to provide performance comparable to large bench-top IR systems but in a compact and ruggedized footprint weighing under 2.5 kg.