Preparing to explore the surface of the Moon requires the best available science. In their training, NASA astronauts use the SciAps LIBS handheld analyzer in unique areas on Earth to simulate the geology they may find on the moon. They spend countless hours in practice in volcanic landscapes and other places that are analogous to the lunar surface to train them on the scale and fidelity of science. Watch the 2020 NASA video to see the SciAps Z in action.
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The SciAps Z features the most advanced LIBS technology of any handheld
- The most powerful laser, operating at 5-6 mJ/pulse, up to 50 Hz rep rate, Class 3B 1064nm wavelength.
- The spectrometer range of 190 nm out to 950 nm delivers full periodic table coverage.
- Optional argon gas purge yields better limits of detection for many elements compared to air-based analysis.
- No X-rays means no travel restrictions or licensing headaches.
Canadian Space Agency research
The SciAps LIBS Z-300 has been also used in a lunar analog simulation mission organized by the Institute for Earth and Space Exploration (Western Space), funded by the Canadian Space Agency, to be used as a resource for future missions to the moon.
NASA has been using SciAps handheld LIBS since 2017
Team member Amy McAdam explains the use of the laser induced-breakdown spectrometer.
A NASA Goddard Instrument Field Team deployment to the Kilbourne Hole maar crater in New Mexico. The scientists came here to test hand-held geological instruments that may one day be used by astronauts exploring the Moon, Mars or even an asteroid.
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