HARPOON (High Access Raman Probe with Onboard Optical Numerization) is a next-generation ultra-compact laser Raman Spectrometer equipped with multiplexed fiber optic sensing points. HARPOON’s superior performance meets the top-level scientific requirements of multiple planetary missions to the inner and outer Solar System.
HARPOON boasts an innovative combination of adaptive spatial coding optics and detector that enables unique measurements: in-situ chemical identification and sub-ppb 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.
HARPOON has five science objectives traceable to observational requests of high-priority mission objectives and specific science investigations. HARPOON informs these five science objectives by performing high-resolution, high-sensitivity quantitative analyses of samples via an innovative approach to Raman spectroscopy. Raman is probably the most powerful tool available for in-situ, non-invasive molecular and mineralogical characterizations. Based on the inelastic scattering of light, the Raman technique identifies molecular species and their chemical and structural nature. HARPOON changes paradigm in in-situ planetary Raman exploration: it enhances the sensitivity of Raman intruments by several orders of magnitude.
Our strategies for maximizing the likelihood of mission infusion are: cost-effective scheme, versatile design, and operational flexibility. This makes HARPOON suitable for multiple spacecraft configurations. The use of remote fiber optic sensing: (1) enables the placement of multiple Raman heads both external and internal to the spacecraft; (2) allows to concurrently or sequentially analyze different types of samples (non-contact and contact; solid and liquid); and (3) provides flexibility to couple Raman analysis to other analytical tools.
Our innovation significantly improves instrument measurement capabilities for planetary science missions such as Discovery, New Frontiers, Mars Exploration, and other planetary programs. It has potential to become a critical new instrument in NASA’s exploration toolbox that can replace already-flown in-situ sensing technologies in future mission opportunities, including: a) landed exploration missions to Venus, Moon, Mars, Europa, Titan, comets, and asteroids; b) sample return missions to Moon, Mars, comets and asteroids; d) ISRU
HARPOON-derived technologies currently being commercialized in the resource development industry both speeds up and expands data analysis capabilities for core logging operations by moving the lab to the borehole and removing the need for coring. Our follow-on commercial application, WireLog, replaces core logging with wireline logging.