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Proceedings Paper • Open Access

Sample containerization and planetary protection using brazing for breaking the chain of contact to Mars

Paper Abstract

Returning samples from Mars to Earth in a future NASA mission would require protection of our planet from the potential risks of bringing uncontrolled biological materials back with the samples. Part of the planetary protection process would involve a process called “breaking the chain of contact (BTC)”, where any returned material reaching Earth for further analysis would have to be sealed inside a container at extremely high confidence. The sterilization process would require destroying any potential biological materials that may contaminate the external surface of the container. A novel process for containing returning samples has been conceived and is under development at JPL. The process consists of using induction heated brazing to synchronously sterilize, separate, seam and seal the container. The braze material is heated to the melting temperature that is higher than 500°C and, thus, it assures sterilizing exposed areas since all carbon bonds are broken above this temperature. The container consists of double walls with “Earth clean” interstitial space. The process consists of two-steps, where one is intended to be prepared on Earth and the second would be executed on orbit around Mars. The latest results of this study will be described and discussed.

Paper Details

Date Published: 29 March 2019
PDF: 8 pages
Proc. SPIE 10968, Behavior and Mechanics of Multifunctional Materials XIII, 1096802 (29 March 2019); doi: 10.1117/12.2513969
Show Author Affiliations
Yoseph Bar-Cohen, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Mircea Badescu, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Stewart Sherrit, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Xiaoqi Bao, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Hyeong Jae Lee, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Erik Bombela, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Sukhwinder Sandhu, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 10968:
Behavior and Mechanics of Multifunctional Materials XIII
Hani E. Naguib, Editor(s)

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