Abstract

This paper describes a prototype feasibility demonstration system of a multipurpose Raman-fluorescence spectrograph and compact lidar system suitable for planetary sciences missions. The key measurement features of this instrument are its abilities to: i) detect minerals and organics at low levels in the dust constituents of surface, subsurface material and rocks on Mars, ii) determine the distribution of trace fluorescent ions with time-resolved fluorescence spectroscopy to learn about the geological conditions under which these minerals formed, iii) inspect material toxicity from a mobile robotic platform during local site characterization, iv) measure dust aerosol and cloud distributions, v) measure near-field atmospheric carbon dioxide, and vi) identify surface CO2-ice, surface water ice, and surface or subsurface methane hydrate. This prototype instrument and an improved follow-on design are described and have the capability for scientific investigations discussed above, to remotely investigate geological processes from a robotic platform at more than a 20-m radial distance with potential to go beyond 100 m. It also provides single wavelength (532 nm) aerosol/cloud profiling over very long ranges (>10km with potential to 20 km). Measurement results obtained with this prototype unit from a robotic platform and calculated potential performance are presented in this paper.

© 2013 Optical Society of America

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