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Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Tech Transfer

Lab-on-a-Robot Platform for in-situ Planetary Compositional Analysis, Phase I

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

Lab-on-a-Robot Platform for in-situ Planetary Compositional Analysis, Phase I
HJ Science & Technology, Inc. and the University of Texas at San Antonio propose a joint venture to demonstrate the feasibility of a mobile "lab-on-a-robot" platform capable of in-situ, high throughput, and simultaneous identification and characterization of universal classes of ions, molecules, and biomolecules for NASA planetary and small body surface chemistry studies. The innovation of the proposed technology combines contactless conductivity detection, on-chip automated sample processing, miniaturized instrumentation integration, and robotic and wireless technologies. If successful, such a mobile platform for the miniaturized instrument will lay the groundwork for future NASA in situ robotic missions. In Phase I, we will show the basic functionalities of the proposed technology by demonstrating the capability of (1) the contactless conductivity detection to detect selective ions that are relevant to the aqueous chemistry and reactivity of the Martian surface material, (2) controlling the device as well as collecting and analyzing the data wirelessly, and (3) integrating the contactless conductivity detection technology into our current optical detection based instrumentation. In Phase II, the main effort will direct towards the development of a "lab-on-a-robot" prototype to be delivered to JPL, which will include optical and contactless conductivity detection capabilities, wireless communication, and on-chip automated sample processing. More »

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