Department of Physics

Physics Colloquium

DATE:           Friday, October 17, 2014
TIME:           12:20 pm - 1:35 pm
LOCATION:   301 Campbell Hall


"SHERLOC: An Investigation on the Mars 2020 Rover"

Dr. Luther Beegle
Deputy Manager for Planetary Science
Jet Propulsion Laboratory


The Scanning Habitable Environments with Raman & Luminescence for Organics & Chemicals (SHERLOC) investigation was recently selected for the Mars 2020 integrated payload. The Mars 2020 rover has two main objectives: 1) In Situ Analysis of samples to determine the geological, chemical and potential for biology in a sample and 2) To collect and cache samples of high scientific interest to return to earth for analysis in a terrestrial laboratory. SHERLOC enables non-contact, spatially resolved, and highly sensitivity detection and characterization of organics and minerals in the Martian surface and near subsurface. SHERLOC is an arm-mounted, Deep UV (DUV) resonance Raman and fluorescence spectrometer utilizing a 248.6-nm DUV laser which induces fluorescence in aromatic organic molecules present in a sample . SHERLOC’s deep UV resonance Raman enables detection and classification of aromatic and aliphatic organics with sensitivities of 10-2 to below 10-4 w/w at <50 µm spatial scales. In addition to organics, the deep UV Raman enables detection and classification of minerals relevant to aqueous chemistry with grain sizes below 20 µm grains. The instrument goals are to assess past aqueous history, detect the presence and preservation of potential biosignatures, and to support selection of return samples. To do this, SHERLOC will measure CHNOPS-containing mineralogy, measure the distribution and type of organics preserved at the surface, and correlate them to textural features.