AAPT Abstract Archive

Abstract Information

  Session: Physics of Mars Exploration
  Paper Type: Invited
  Title: Planetary Instrument for X-Ray Lithochemistry (PIXL) for the Mars 2020 Mission
  Meeting: 2018 Winter Meeting: San Diego, CA
  Location: N/A
  Time: 2:00PM
  Author: Marc Foote,, Jet Propulsion Laboratory,
8186538416, mcfoote@jpl.nasa.gov
  Co-Author(s): Abigail Allwood, Lawrence Wade
  Abstract: PIXL, the Planetary Instrument for X-Ray Lithochemistry, is one of two instruments slated to mount at the end of the Mars 2020 Rover arm for close-up analysis of natural and abraded rocks. PIXL produces an intense X-ray spot, focused to 120 microns. By measuring the spectrum of X-rays produced by fluorescence, the rock's elemental composition is determined. The X-ray spot is then mechanically scanned across the rock to map the composition spatially. Compared to previous Mars elemental composition instruments, PIXL's measurements are significantly more sensitive and orders of magnitude higher spatial resolution (120 microns compared to 2 cm). PIXL's science objectives are to evaluate the potential for past habitability, detect biosignature evidence of past life, and to provide a geochemical basis for sample selection for future return to Earth.
  Footnotes: Invited by Dr. Matthew Perkins Cappola.
  Presentation: theplanetary.pdf

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