31st Annual Meeting of the DPS, October 1999
Session 8. Science and Technology of Future Space Missions Posters
Poster Group I, Monday-Wednesday, October 11, 1999, , Kursaal Center

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[8.01] Officine Galileo for Mars Exploration

E. Battistelli, M. Tacconi (Officine Galileo)

The interest for Mars's exploration is continuously increasing. Officine Galileo is engaged in this endeavor with several programmes.

The exobiology is, of course, a stimulating field; presently Officine Galileo is leading a team with Dasa and Tecnospazio, under ESA contract, for the definition of a facility for the search of extinct life on Mars through the detection of indicators of life. The system, to be embarked on a Mars lander, is based on a drill to take rock samples underneath the oxidised soil layer, on a sample preparation and distribution system devoted to condition and bring the sample to a set of analytical instruments to carry out in-situ chemical and mineralogical investigations. The facility benefits of the presence of optical microscope, gas chromatograph, several spectrometers (Raman, Mass, Mossbauer, APX-Ray), and further instruments.

In the frame of planetology, Officine Galileo is collaborating with several Principal Investigators to the definition of a set of instruments to be integrated on the Mars 2003 Lander (a NASA-ASI cooperation). A drill (by Tecnospazio), with the main task to collect Mars soil samples for the subsequent storage and return to Earth, will have the capability to perform several soil analyses, e.g. temperature and near infrared reflectivity spectra down to 50 cm depth, surface thermal and electrical conductivity, sounding of electromagnetic properties down to a few hundreds meter, radioactivity. Moreover a kit of instruments for in-situ soil samples analyses if foreseen; it is based on a dust analyser, an IR spectrometer, a thermofluorescence sensor, and a radioactivity analyser.

The attention to the Red Planet is growing, in parallel with the findings of present and planned missions. In the following years the technology of Officine Galileo will carry a strong contribution to the science of Mars.

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