Thorleaf Research's miniaturized water preconcentration module will be designed to interface with spacecraft instrumentation for air-monitoring, such as the Vehicle Cabin Atmosphere Monitor (VCAM) which has now successfully completed two-years of testing on the International Space Station. It should also be possible to adapt our high flow, low dead volume design to the next generation of miniature air-monitoring instrumentation, such as the micro-Gas Monitor (mGM) currently under development at NASA/JPL, or other instrumentation. This will enable NASA's goal of long-term monitoring of trace contaminants in both air and water using a single instrument. Since we intend to follow a modular design approach in our Phase II development, this core instrumentation can be adapted to other detectors of interest, and for other NASA needs. For example, our preconcentrator technology may be applicable in process monitoring for the extraction of planetary resources such as water from Lunar or Martian soils, especially where this water will be used for human consumption. It may also be possible to adapt our preconcentrator sampling system for use in non-aqueous solvents. For example, an important future NASA planetary mission application might arise for preconcentration of trace organic compounds in the cryogenic methane-ethane lakes on Saturn's moon Titan.
Analysis of commercial instrumentation markets shows that two of the three major growth areas for analytical instrumentation are real-time analysis and environmental monitoring, with projected annual growth rates of more than 15%. Our modular design approach for the miniaturized high flow, low dead-volume preconcentrator for trace levels of contaminants in water under microgravity conditions should allow it to be adapted for miniature field portable analytical chemical instrumentation to meet specialized environmental monitoring needs.