Handheld analysers commonly used to identify scrap alloys are playing a part in the exploration of space. NASA astronauts are currently using the SciAps Z-300 in unique landscapes on Earth to simulate the lunar geology.
The astronauts spend countless hours practicing in volcanic settings and other unusual places that resemble the lunar surface to get a feel for the Moon and space in general.
‘Exploring the surface of the moon requires the best available technology,’ says SciAps. The company is proud that NASA has been using its equipment since 2017.
The tech provider says its Z-300 features the most advanced laser induced breakdown spectroscopy technology ‘of any handheld out there’. It features:
- A very powerful laser, operating at 5-6 mJ/pulse, up to 50 Hz rep rate, Class 3B 1064nm wavelength.
- The spectrometer range of 190 nm out to 950 nm delivers full periodic table coverage.
- Optional argon gas purge gives better limits of detection for many elements compared to air-based analysis.
- Not using X-rays means no travel restrictions or licensing headaches.
Lunar South Pole
The efforts are part of the Artemis Program, a US government-funded crewed spaceflight initiative that has the goal of landing ‘the first woman and the next man’ on the Moon by 2024. They are projected to land in the Lunar South Pole region.
Watch footage of the NASA crew’s intense training below: