NASA SBIR 00-1 SOLICITATION

FORM 9B - PROJECT SUMMARY


PROPOSAL NUMBER 00-1 19.02-9835 (Chron: 000166 )
PROJECT TITLE
Wideband In-Situ Electromagnetic Sensor for Exploring Planetary Subsurface



TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (LIMIT 200 WORDS)
We propose a new broadband electromagnetic (EM) sensor, called GEM-5 (Figure 1), to measure the electrical conductivity of the first 5-10 m of Martian in-situ geology. The depth of exploration may increase with a higher transmitter power. While the sensor can be used for exploring other planets and moons, this proposal is directed specifically to a small rover such as the 1997 Sojourner to Mars. The proposed sensor will weigh less than 500 g, and its overall power consumption would be insignificant owing to its low duty cycle, assuming a slow rover speed. The GEM-5 sensing element is new and will be designed to be operated on a small rover.

The proposed GEM-5 is designed to be a vertical EM gradiometer. The innovative antenna design calls for a very compact packaging and high spatial resolution for conductivity mapping. To lower the development cost and engineering risk, however, the data processing console will be largely based on its predecessors, GEM-2 and GEM-3, which have been highly successful for commercial geophysical surveys.

Referring to desired technologies listed under this NASA SBIR topic: Instruments for Conducting In Situ Scientific Measurements, the proposed sensor can contribute to:
In situ characterization of planetary subsurface regions
Subsurface mineralogical compositions of soils, ices, sedimentary rocks, and minerals;
Geological and environmental understanding, and;
Electromagnetic and magnetic properties of shallow subsurface.

The sensor will have the following specifications suitable for a rover deployment:
Light (<500 gm), robust, and easy to deploy;
Multifrequency data -- to determine layered structures such as permafrost and ice layers;
Low data rate due to intermittent operation for a slow-moving rover; and
Low power consumption (<1 watt-hour).



POTENTIAL COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS
The proposed sensor will have many commercial applications including geophysical investigation for mineral resources, environmental pollution, and borehole applications. Because of its small size, the sensor also has applications for security checkpoints such as airport security gates for weapons detection. The proposed GEM-5 is also being considered for commercial production for geophysical logging of oil and gas wells.



NAME AND ADDRESS OF PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR (Name, Organization Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip)
I.J. Won
Geophex, Ltd.
605 Mercury St.
Raleigh , NC   27603 - 2343



NAME AND ADDRESS OF OFFEROR (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip)
Geophex, Ltd.
605 Mercury St
Raleigh , NC   27603 - 2343