We propose to build and critically test a TRL4 High Access Raman Probe with Onboard Optical Numerization (HARPOON), a nextgeneration ultra-compact laser Raman Spectrometer equipped with multiplexed fiber optic sensing points.
HARPOON's core unit, hosted inside the spacecraft, contains the laser, spectrometer, and electronic modules. The core unit serves two miniature Raman heads, which enable both external and internal close-up analyses: (1) A Raman head integrated at the end of a robotic arm, lander leg, or telescopic boom for close-up in-situ, surface analyses; and (2) An internal Raman head that performs on-line analysis of samples delivered to a spacecraft's analytical laboratory. The heads house light focusing and collection optics and autofocus, and are connected to the core unit via fiber optics bundles.
HARPOON boasts an innovative combination of adaptive spatial coding optics and detector that enables unique measurements: in-situ chemical identification and quantitation of complex organic compounds, including pre-biotic compounds (e.g., amino acids); biomolecules (organic biomarkers such as proteins, lipids, and nucleic acid polymers); minerals; salts; volatiles. In Phase 1 we will develop and integrate key subsystems of HARPOON and critically evaluate its performance using standards. We will demonstrate the ability of HARPOON to perform novel, dual-probe Raman astrobiological analysis in landed spacecraft. Thus, we directly address the SBIR Topic S1.11 request: “development of in-situ instrument technologies and components to advance the maturity of science instruments focused on the detection of evidence of life, especially extant of life, in the Ocean Worlds … Technologies that reduce mass, power, volume, and data rates for instruments and instrument components without loss of scientific capability are of particular importance … technologies that can increase instrument resolution and sensitivity or achieve new & innovative scientific measurements.”
HARPOON enables key investigations required to understand the habitability of several targets in the Solar System. The following missions highlighted can benefit from HARPOON: a) landed exploration missions to Venus, Moon, Mars, Europa, Titan, comets, and asteroids; b) sample return missions to Moon, Mars, comets and asteroids. HARPOON may be used to identify and map available planetary in-situ resources, and to spur the development of autonomous ISRU devices for robotic and human missions
HARPOON responds to critical challenges at the scientific/engineering boundaries of highly sensitive in-situ sensing including characterizing materials, qualitatively, quantitatively, in real-time, and non-destructively. Thus, HARPOON has high potential to impact: Health and environment monitoring; Forensic analyses; Ocean sensing; and Natural resources exploration and development.