Scanning Habitable Environments with Raman and Luminescence for Organics and Chemicals
Scanning Habitable Environments with Raman and Luminescence for Organics and Chemicals (SHERLOC) is an ultraviolet Raman spectrometer that uses fine-scale imaging and an ultraviolet (UV) laser to determine fine-scale mineralogy and detect organic compounds designed for the Mars 2020 rover mission. It is constructed at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory with major subsystems being delivered from Malin Space Science Systems and Los Alamos National Laboratory. The Principal Investigator is Luther Beegle, and the Deputy Principal Investigator is Rohit Bhartia.
The goals of the SHERLOC investigation are to:
- Assess the habitability potential of a sample and its aqueous history.
- Assess the availability of key elements and energy source for life (C, H, N, O, P, S etc.)
- Determine if there are potential biosignatures preserved in Martian rocks and outcrops.
- Provide organic and mineral analysis for selective sample caching.
To do this SHERLOC does the following:
- Detects and classifies organics and astrobiologically relevant minerals on the surface and near subsurface of Mars
- Bulk organic sensitivity of 10-5 to 10-6 w/w over a 7 x 7 mm spot.
- Fine scale organic sensitivity of 10-2 to 10-4 w/w spatially resolved at <100µm
- Astrobiologically Relevant Mineral (ARM) detection and classification to <100µm resolution
SHERLOC will be mounted on the robotic arm of the Mars 2020 rover. It consists of both imaging and spectroscopic elements. It has two imaging components consisting of heritage hardware from the MSL MAHLI instrument. One is a built to print re-flight that can generate color images over multiple scales. The other acts as the mechanism that allows the instrument to get a contextual image of a sample and to autofocus the laser spot for the spectroscopic part of the SHERLOC investigation.
For Spectroscopy, it utilizes a NeCu laser to generate UV photons (248.6 nm) which can generate characteristic Raman and fluorescence photons from a scientifically interesting sample. The DUV laser is co-boresighted to a context imager and integrated into an autofocusing/scanning optical system that allows correlation of spectral signatures to surface textures, morphology and visible features. The context imager has a spatial resolution of 30 µm and currently is designed to operate in the 400-500 nm wavelength range.
- Webster, Guy (31 July 2014). "SHERLOC to Micro-Map Mars Minerals and Carbon Rings". NASA. Retrieved 31 July 2014.
- Beegle, L.W.; et al. (2017). "The SHERLOC Investigation For MARS 2020 (SHERLOC: Scanning Habitable Environments with Raman and Luminescence for Organics and Chemicals, an Investigation for 2020)" (PDF). Universities Space Research Association. Retrieved 30 August 2017.
- "The next NASA rover could lead to safer space suits for astronauts exploring Mars". The Mercury News. 2018-02-20. Retrieved 2018-02-24.
- Beegle, L.; Bhartia, R.; White, M.; DeFlores, L.; Abbey, W.; Wu, Yen-Hung; Cameron, B.; Moore, J.; Fries, M. (2015-03-01). "SHERLOC: Scanning habitable environments with Raman amp; luminescence for organics amp; chemicals". 2015 IEEE Aerospace Conference: 1–11. doi:10.1109/AERO.2015.7119105. ISBN 978-1-4799-5379-0.