Ma_MISS on ExoMars: Mineralogical Characterization of the Martian Subsurface
De Sanctis Maria Cristina ; Altieri Francesca ; Ammannito Eleonora ; et al.
Jul - 2017
DOI: 10.1089/ast.2016.1541

journal : Astrobiology

Volume : 17 ; Issue : 6-7
type: Article Journal

The Ma_MISS (Mars Multispectral Imager for Subsurface Studies) experiment is the visible and near infrared (VNIR) miniaturized spectrometer hosted by the drill system of the ExoMars 2020 rover. Ma_MISS will perform IR spectral reflectance investigations in the 0.4–2.2 μm range to characterize the mineralogy of excavated borehole walls at different depths (between 0 and 2 m). The spectral sampling is about 20 nm, whereas the spatial resolution over the target is 120 μm. Making use of the drill's movement, the instrument slit can scan a ring and build up hyperspectral images of a borehole. The main goal of the Ma_MISS instrument is to study the martian subsurface environment. Access to the martian subsurface is crucial to our ability to constrain the nature, timing, and duration of alteration and sedimentation processes on Mars, as well as habitability conditions. Subsurface deposits likely host and preserve H2O ice and hydrated materials that will contribute to our understanding of the H2O geochemical environment (both in the liquid and in the solid state) at the ExoMars 2020 landing site. The Ma_MISS spectral range and sampling capabilities have been carefully selected to allow the study of minerals and ices in situ before the collection of samples. Ma_MISS will be implemented to accomplish the following scientific objectives: (1) determine the composition of subsurface materials, (2) map the distribution of subsurface H2O and volatiles, (3) characterize important optical and physical properties of materials (e.g., grain size), and (4) produce a stratigraphic column that will inform with regard to subsurface geological processes. The Ma_MISS findings will help to refine essential criteria that will aid in our selection of the most interesting subsurface formations from which to collect samples. Key Words: Mars—Subsurface—Spectroscopy—Mineralogy.

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