The 2013-2022 NASA Planetary Science Decadal survey cites the need to understand the "
inventory and dynamics of carbon compounds and trace gasses in the atmosphere and surface [of Mars], and [the] processes that govern their origin, evolution, and fate
" as one of five "
key, overarching questions that drive future Mars exploration." (Decadal Survey, 6-4). A robust instrument that is extremely sensitive to the expected Martian atmospheric levels of 12CH4, 13CH4, C2H6, C3H8, and C4H10 is optimally suited for answering these questions on the future missions to Mars, such as that planned for 2018. The proposed instrument complements the methane/methane-isotope analyzer that will be part of the upcoming Mars Science Laboratory mission, by adding the capability to measure the abundances of light hydrocarbons. Given the lack of empirical data about Martian methane sources that is required to calibrate an isotope-only measurement, this additional capability is critical in determining the origin of methane on Mars. Besides its applications to NASA, a field-portable analyzer capable of measuring light hydrocarbon concentrations and methane isotope ratios also has significant commercial applications for energy exploration and landfill management. The proposed SBIR effort will substantially facilitate in the development of these commercial products.