To answer the questions such as how have the myriad chemical and physical processes that shaped the solar system operated, interacted, and evolved over time? from “Vision and Voyages for Planetary Science in the Decade 2013-2022” by National Research Council, we propose to develop a compact, low-power, in-situ X-ray imaging and X-ray Fluorescence (XRF) instrument called Tomo-XRF probe to investigate the ice/rock internal element distribution and structure critical properties, such as density, porosity, crack, liquid distribution and flowing path, etc.
In this Phase II project, a prototype Tomo-XRF probe will be built with cutting edge X-ray components, innovative system configuration, and a novel method for data processing. This whole prototype 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 Tomo-XRF probe has a significant potential for NASA’s New Frontiers and Discovery missions cross most planetary bodies to provide high quality internal structure and element distribution information.
To in-situ investigate the rock/ice sample prior to sample return could significantly improve the NASA spacecraft mission efficiency and expand our knowledge of the origin, formation, structure, etc. of the substances of the planetary bodies.
This proposed Tomo-XRF probe also has a great potential for geological survey, petroleum, subsurface thermal resource, and mining exploration. It can also be used at the production field of advanced manufacturing to provide critical 3D structure and element distribution information of the parts for quality assurance. The in-situ results can be used as feedback to optimize/adjust the production process for significantly improving the production throughput and quality control.
It would be useful for the science research objectives defined in the “Mars Science Goals, Objectives, Investigations, and Priorities: 2018 Version” MEPAG:
1. Objective B1.3: Establish general geological context (e.g., rock-hosted aquifer or sub-ice reservoir; host rock type).
2. Objective B1.1: Determine the types, nature, abundance, and interaction of volatiles in the mantle and crust.
3. Objective A4.3: Determine the present state, 3-dimensional distribution, and cycling of water on Mars, including the cryosphere and possible deep aquifers.
There is an excellent potential for the Tomo-XRF probe for the geology survey, petroleum and mining industries, which are close to the geophysics and geochemistry application in the NASA mission.
This Tomo-XRF probe has an even big potential for advanced manufacturing quality control of critical components because it can be easily extended to accommodate a variety of large samples.