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Planetary sample sealing for caching

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9 Author(s)
Backes, P. ; Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Technol., Pasadena, CA ; Onstott, T. ; Bar-Cohen, Y. ; Badescu, M.
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A sample sealing technique was developed and tested for a possible Mars Sample Return mission application. The effect on the scientific viability of biological samples from storage of samples in a sample container for a long period of time on the Martian surface was also investigated. Sealing techniques were investigated and a soldering concept was developed and tested to provide a hermetic seal between a sample tube and cap. A sample caching subsystem design concept was updated to allow for sealing of sample tubes. A gas-tight vessel was constructed that could be used to simulate environmental conditions that would be experienced by a sample of regolith on Mars and to test the affects of thermal cycling of the vessel on psychrophilic microorganisms embedded in a regolith simulant to assess the degree of deterioration of the microorganisms.

Published in:

Aerospace conference, 2009 IEEE

Date of Conference:

7-14 March 2009