Tricorders & Sensors

Tricorder Tech: NASA Astrobiology Field Research With A Hand-held X-ray Fluorescence Field Spectrometer

By Keith Cowing
Astrobiology.com
September 16, 2022
Filed under , , , , ,
Tricorder Tech: NASA Astrobiology Field Research With A Hand-held X-ray Fluorescence Field Spectrometer
Vanta Hand-held X-ray Fluorescence Field Spectrometer
Astrobiology.com

Teams from NASA’s Johnson Space Center and NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center continue to conduct field work as part of this week’s NASA Expeditions in Hawaii.

Teams from NASA’s Johnson Space Center and NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center continue to conduct field work as part of this week’s NASA Expeditions in Hawaii.

As part of this work, they use scientific instruments such as a hand-held X-ray fluorescence field spectrometer that can be carried into the lava caves for data collection. This instrument is similar to the tools the Perseverance Rover uses to investigate possible sample sites on Mars.

Editor’s note: According to Wikipedia: “X-ray fluorescence (XRF) is the emission of characteristic “secondary” (or fluorescent) X-rays from a material that has been excited by being bombarded with high-energy X-rays or gamma rays. The phenomenon is widely used for elemental analysis and chemical analysis, particularly in the investigation of metals, glass, ceramics and building materials, and for research in geochemistry, forensic science, archaeology and art objects such as paintings.”

Editor’s note: You can see from the images that the NASA team is using a Tricorder – a Evident Industrial / Olympus Vanta™ handheld XRF analyzer to be exact.

Here is some product information on the device from Olympus:

The Vanta™ handheld XRF analyzer series are our newest and most powerful handheld XRF devices, delivering rapid, accurate element analysis for customers who demand laboratory-quality results in the field. The analyzers are built tough, with an IP55 or IP54 rating, and drop tested for greater uptime and a lower cost of ownership.”

More videos

SpaceRef co-founder, Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA, Away Teams, Journalist, Space & Astrobiology, Lapsed climber.