ExoMars Raman Laser Spectrometer RLS, A Tool To Semi-quantify The Serpentinization Degree Of Olivine-rich Rocks On Mars

By Keith Cowing
March 14, 2021
Filed under
ExoMars Raman Laser Spectrometer RLS, A Tool To Semi-quantify The Serpentinization Degree Of Olivine-rich Rocks On Mars
Simplified geological map of the Leka Ophiolite Complex (LOC), indicating the sampling site of the analogue materials studied in this work.

We evaluate what will be the effectiveness of the ExoMars Raman Laser Spectrometer (RLS) to determine the degree of serpentinization of olivine-rich units on Mars.

We selected terrestrial analogues of martian ultramafic rocks from the Leka Ophiolite Complex (LOC) and analyzed them with both laboratory and flight-like analytical instruments. We first studied the mineralogical composition of the samples (mostly olivine and serpentine) with state-of-the-art diffractometric and spectroscopic laboratory systems. We compared these results with those obtained using our RLS ExoMars Simulator. Our work shows that the RLS ExoMars Simulator successfully identified all major phases. Moreover, when emulating the automatic operating mode of the flight instrument, the RLS ExoMars simulator also detected several minor compounds, some of which were not observed by NIR and XRD.

Thereafter, we produced RLS dedicated calibration curves (R2 between 0.9993 and 0.9995 with an uncertainty between 3.0% and 5.2% with a confidence interval of 95%) to estimate the relative content of olivine and serpentine in the samples. Our results show that RLS can be very effective to identify serpentine, a scientific target of primary importance for the potential detection of biosignatures on Mars the main objective of the ExoMars rover mission.

Marco Veneranda, Guillermo Lopez-Reyes, Elena Pascual Sanchez, Agata M. Krzesinska, Jose Antonio Manrique-Martinez, Aurelio Sanz-Arranz, Cateline Lantz, Emmanuel Lalla, Andoni Moral, Jesus Medina, Francois Poulet, Henning Dypvik, Stephanie C. Werner, Jorge L. Vago, Fernando Rull

Subjects: Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP); Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics (astro-ph.IM)
Journal reference: Astrobiology, 2021, Ahead of Print
DOI: 10.1089/ast.2020.2265
Cite as: arXiv:2101.08554 [astro-ph.EP] (or arXiv:2101.08554v1 [astro-ph.EP] for this version)
Submission history
From: Marco Veneranda
[v1] Thu, 21 Jan 2021 11:13:38 UTC (1,410 KB)

Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA Space Station Payload manager/space biologist, Away Teams, Journalist, Lapsed climber, Synaesthete, Na’Vi-Jedi-Freman-Buddhist-mix, ASL, Devon Island and Everest Base Camp veteran, (he/him) 🖖🏻