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Proceedings Paper

Spectral profiling and imaging (SPI): extending L.I.F.E. technology for the remote exploration of life in ice caves (R.E.L.I.C.) on Earth and Mars
Author(s): Michael C. Storrie-Lombardi; Alex P. Hall; Steven Hang; Gregory A. Lyzenga; Christopher M. Clark; Birgit I. Sattler; Asim K. Bej; Richard B. Hoover
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Paper Abstract

On Earth, the ice of the lakes, glaciers, and caves of the cryosphere (from the ancient Greek word cryos, meaning "cold" or "ice") harbors rich, complex biotic communities. Ice cave habitats have been posited for the Mars cryosphere. Ice in such caves would protect microbes from UV, X-rays, and heavy particle radiation and might be accessible during robotic or astronaut missions. Detection of putative biota-rich ice will require in situ detection of biosignatures in cave walls, floor, and ceiling a few centimeters to tens of meters distant from the investigating rover or astronaut. We describe the development of a prototype for a non-destructive, non-contact device that rapidly generates reflectance and fluorescence images and a midline target profile of 960 reflectance and fluorescence spectra. Spectral Profiling and Imaging (SPI) requires no irreplaceable consumables and can be sufficiently miniaturized to be used by a single astronaut or a small robotic explorer. The current laboratory instrument is designated SPI2 since it generates data sets for two optical phenomena: reflectance and fluorescence. In final form SPI4 will be integrated with an autonomous rover and generate data for four optical phenomena: reflectance, fluorescence, Raman scattering, and circular polarization. SPI4 will be useful for the Remote Evaluation of Life in Ice Caves (R.E.L.I.C.) on planetary bodies whose distance from Earth prohibits real-time mission control.

Paper Details

Date Published: 23 September 2011
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 8152, Instruments, Methods, and Missions for Astrobiology XIV, 815217 (23 September 2011); doi: 10.1117/12.916987
Show Author Affiliations
Michael C. Storrie-Lombardi, Kinohi Institute (United States)
Alex P. Hall, Harvey Mudd College (United States)
Steven Hang, Harvey Mudd College (United States)
Gregory A. Lyzenga, Harvey Mudd College (United States)
Christopher M. Clark, Harvey Mudd College (United States)
Birgit I. Sattler, Kinohi Institute (United States)
Univ. of Innsbruck (Austria)
Asim K. Bej, The Univ. of Alabama at Birmingham (United States)
Richard B. Hoover, NASA/MSFC (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 8152:
Instruments, Methods, and Missions for Astrobiology XIV
Richard B. Hoover; Paul C. W. Davies; Gilbert V. Levin; Alexei Yu. Rozanov, Editor(s)

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