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MA_MISS on Exomars: Mineralogical characterization of the Martian Subsoil
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 infrared spectral reflectance investigations in the 0.4–2.2 μm range to characterize the mineralogy of the excavated borehole wall at different depths (between 0 and 2 m). The spectral sampling is about 20 nm while 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 the borehole.The main goal of the MA_MISS instrument is to study the martian subsurface environment. Access to the martian subsurface is crucial to constrain nature, timing and duration of alteration and sedimentation processes on Mars, as well as habitability conditions. Subsurface deposits likely host and preserve water ice and hydrated materials diagnostic for understanding the water geochemical environment (both in the liquid and solid state) at the landing site. The MA_MISS spectral range and sampling have been carefully selected to allow studying minerals and ices in situ, prior to collecting samples. MA_MISS will accomplish the following scientific objectives: 1) determine the composition of subsurface materials; 2) map the distribution of subsurface water and volatiles; 3) characterize important optical and physical properties of materials (e.g. grain size); and 4) produce a model stratigraphic column to obtain clues about subsurface geological processes. The MA_MISS findings will help refine criteria for deciding which are the most interesting subsurface formation form which to collect sample.
De Sanctis Maria Cristina, Altieri Francesca, Ammannito Eleonora, Biondi David, De Angelis Simone, Meini Marco, Novi Samuele, Paolinetti Riccardo, Soldani Benzi Massimo, Mugnuolo Raffaele, Vago Jorge
Paper for Specialistic Magazine
Astrobiology (Mary Ann Liebert Inc.)
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