NASA SBIR 2008 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 08-2 S1.11-9560
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Lunar Science Instruments and Technology
PROPOSAL TITLE: X-Ray Diffraction and Fluorescence Instrument for Mineralogical Analysis at the Lunar Surface

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
inXitu, Inc.
2551 Casey Avenue, Suite A
Mountain View, CA 94043 - 1135
(650) 799-2118

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
philippe sarrazin
2551 Casey Avenue, Suite A
Mountain View, CA 94043 - 1135
(650) 799-2118

Expected Technology Readiness Level (TRL) upon completion of contract: 6 to 7

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
We propose to develop LUNA, a compact and lightweight X-Ray Diffraction (XRD) / X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) instrument for mineralogical analysis of regolith, rock samples and dust, in lunar surface exploration. LUNA is based from the concept of CheMin, the XRD/XRF instrument of MSL, but is redesigned to provide a more compact unit at much reduced costs. Many details of LUNA derive from the designs of a small portable XRD/XRF instruments developed and marketed by inXitu. Bringing LUNA to TRL 6-7 is possible within the scope of this Phase II because key components have been or are being developed. Phase 2 addresses the missing critical subsystems: a low-cost flight-qualifiable X-ray CCD, and flight-qualifiable electronics to drive the detector and control the instrument. LUNA is not frozen in a particular geometry or mechanical implementation, it is meant to be flexible to answer the specific needs of any lunar mission. Transmission or reflection geometries are possible as demonstrated by inXitu's commercial instruments. Phase 2 will demonstrate a reflection version of LUNA operating under vacuum. This work leverages on the extensive experience of the PI and the company with XRD-XRF instrumentation in terrestrial and planetary applications.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Primary application is fitting a LUNA instrument to a landed platform, rover or lander, to perform mineralogical analyses of the regolith, rocks, ices, and dust at the lunar surface. The LUNA concept opens XRD/XRF capabilities to small missions with limited payload. The project is structured to enable quick development at low cost once selected for flight. Although this development is focused on lunar applications, it would fit other planetary missions requiring a mineralogy instrument.
Secondary applications are analysis of sample return in planetary sample curation box, and analysis on manned orbital or lunar stations for science and resource utilization.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
This development will enable next generation portable field XRD/XRF instruments for geological analysis in the field, mining, oil, forensic, art, and also dedicated applications such as in-vacuum process monitoring tools for thin film deposition, robotic systems for quality control, or low cost benchtop instruments for routine analysis in the laboratory or for education. These instruments are a natural evolution of the company's current line of products. This research is well aligned with the marketing strategy of the company.

NASA's technology taxonomy has been developed by the SBIR-STTR program to disseminate awareness of proposed and awarded R/R&D in the agency. It is a listing of over 100 technologies, sorted into broad categories, of interest to NASA.


Form Generated on 08-03-09 13:26