Effect of the Presence of Chlorates and Perchlorates on the Pyrolysis of Organic Compounds: Implications for Measurements Done with the Sam Experiment Onboard the Curiosity Rover

Abstract : The Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Curiosity Rover carries a suite of instruments, one of which is the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) experiment. SAM is devoted to the in situ molecular analysis of gases evolving from solid samples collected by Curiosity on Mars surface/sub-surface. Among its three analytical devices, SAM has a gas-chromatograph coupled to a quadrupole mass spectrometer (GC-QMS) [1]. The GC-QMS is devoted to the separation and identification of organic and inorganic material. Before proceeding to the GC-QMS analysis, the solid sample collected by Curiosity is subjected to a thermal treatment thanks to the pyrolysis oven to release the volatiles into the gas processing system. Depending on the sample, a derivatization method by wet chemistry: MTBSTFA of TMAH can also be applied to analyze the most refractory compounds. The GC is able to separate the organic molecules which are then detected and identified by the QMS (Figure 1).
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Maeva Millan, Cyril Szopa, A. Buch, Imène Belmahdi, Patrice Coll, et al.. Effect of the Presence of Chlorates and Perchlorates on the Pyrolysis of Organic Compounds: Implications for Measurements Done with the Sam Experiment Onboard the Curiosity Rover. 47th LPSC Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, Mar 2016, Houston, United States. ⟨hal-01815506⟩

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