This project is to study the feasibility of developing an in-situ, compact, low-power, non-destructive X-ray imaging instrument to investigate the ice/rock critical properties, such as density, porosity, crack, and chemical non–uniformity, liquid distribution and flowing path, etc..
This proposed system will be built with compact low-power X-ray components and an innovative system configuration. This imaging system would be expected to be less than 10 pounds with a total size as a shoe box. The sample could be either ice or rock. The compact X-ray imaging system has a significant potential to be useful for NASA’s New Frontiers and Discovery missions cross most planetary bodies.
The significance of the proposed technical innovation is from three aspects
Furthermore, this proposed technology could be combined with other instruments, such as the Mars CheMin system, to form a synergy of the dual/triple modality. The process could be: first to perform the non-destructive multi-spectral 3D CT imaging with the samples, and then do the X-ray Diffraction (XRD) and X-ray Fluorescence (XRF) measurements after the samples to be grounded to powder. The synergy will yield a great amount of information, such as density, porosity, crack, phase composition, etc, as well as the chemical compounds, and trace elements etc. of the samples. To gain such information covering a broad range of the fields would significantly help us to expand our knowledge about the solar system and the universe.
This in-situ X-ray imaging system would investigate the planetary ice/rock critical internal structure properties, such as density, porosity, crack, and chemical non–uniformity, liquid distribution and flowing path, etc.. It would be a great addition to the current NASA in-situ instruments, such as Mars CheMin system, by first-time providing those critical internal structure information closely related to the formation history of these samples for NASA’s New Frontiers and Discovery missions.
This proposed technology also has a great potential for geological survey, petroleum, and subsurface thermal resource exploration because it can in-situ provide critical internal structure information about the rock/ice samples. For example, it can be utilized in pole areas to investigate the ice samples right on site to avoid the challenges to transfer and reserve the fragile ice samples. This in-situ measurement can improve the efficiency of the survey, exploration, and fundamental research.