Planning for a Mars in situ sample preparation and distribution (SPAD) system

D. W. Beaty, S. Miller, W. Zimmerman, J. Bada, P. Conrad, E. Dupuis, T. Huntsberger, R. Ivlev, S. S. Kim, B. G. Lee, D. Lindstrom, L. Lorenzoni, P. Mahaffy, K. McNamara, D. Papanastassiou, S. Patrick, S. Peters, N. Rohatgi, J. J. Simmonds, J. SprayT. D. Swindle, L. Tamppari, A. Treiman, J. K. Wolfenbarger, A. Zent

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


For Mars in situ landed missions, it has become increasingly apparent that significant value may be provided by a shared system that we call a Sample Preparation and Distribution (SPAD) System. A study was conducted to identify the issues and feasibility of such a system for these missions that would provide common functions for: receiving a variety of sample types from multiple sample acquisition systems; conducting preliminary characterization of these samples with non-destructive science instruments and making decisions about what should happen to the samples; performing a variety of sample preparation functions; and, finally, directing the prepared samples to additional science instruments for further analysis. Scientific constraints on the functionality of the system were identified, such as triage, contamination management, and various sample preparation steps, e.g., comminution, splitting, rock surfacing, and sieving. Some simplifying strategies were recommended and an overall science flow was developed. Engineering functional requirements were also investigated and example architectures developed. Preliminary conclusions are that shared SPAD facility systems could indeed add value to future Mars in situ landed missions if they are designed to respond to the particular requirements and constraints of those missions, that such a system appears feasible for consideration, and that certain standards should be developed for key SPAD interfaces.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)55-66
Number of pages12
JournalPlanetary and Space Science
Issue number1-3
StatePublished - Jan 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Advanced analysis
  • Comminution
  • In situ measurement
  • Primary analysis
  • Sample collection
  • Sample distribution
  • Sample preparation
  • Sample splits
  • Sampling
  • Sieving
  • Subsampling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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