In-Situ Instrument for MARS and EARTH dating applications
Programme: Horizon 2020 MSCA-RISE
Web site: Work in Progress
Search for life, processes and history of climate changes, evolution of Mars as geological system and establishing human presence1 on the planet are set, or envisaged, as long-term objectives by international space agencies. As the ongoing robotic exploration has made some astonishing discoveries, the next major step2 is to retrieve samples from the Martian surface so they can be analysed in detail in terrestrial laboratories. However, considering the huge costs associated to those missions, an on-site dating of rock and sediment samples allows performing quick tests and select meaningful samples to bring back enabling a cost-effective mission’s approach.
The geochronology of Mars sediments is of central importance for Mars science. In fact, accurate estimation of absolute ages is required to understand the processes and history of climate evolution and geology of the Mars surface. Evidences suggest that aeolian, fluvial and periglacial processes have remained active to present day. Being able to date and analyze surface deposits could provide important data to better model climate changes, Martian surface dynamics and geological processes. Furthermore, knowledge about occurrences and time frequencies of such processes allow the hazard evaluation for locations/ areas, which is essential for future deployments, missions and eventually humans on Mars.
IN-TIME project addresses the technological and economic viability of a leading-edge instrument for dating of Mars’ sub-surface samples: a miniaturized, portable instrument for in-situ examination and assessment based on the luminescence method. Thanks to the development of its innovative technology, and in addition to planetary exploration application, IN-TIME will be also suitable for terrestrial field applications as a lightweight and portable dating and analysis instrument for geology and archaeology as well as a risk assessment tool for accident and emergency dosimetry and nuclear mass-casualty events.
Alma Sistemi S.r.l. Università degli Studi di Sassari S³ Space System Solution Sensia Solutions University of Texas at Austin Cyprus Space Exploration Organisation Università degli Studi “Gabriele D’Annunzio”
Alessio di Iorio, Alma Sistemi Srl