NASA SBIR 2020-I Solicitation

Proposal Summary

 20-1- S1.07-6626
 In Situ Instruments/Technologies for Lunar and Planetary Science
 PERISCOPE - Probe for Exploring Regolith and Ice by Subsurface Classification of Organics, PAHs, and Elements
SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Impossible Sensing, LLC
3407 South Jefferson Avenue
St. Louis, MO 63118
(314) 695-6993

Principal Investigator (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)

Dr. Evan Eshelman
3407 S Jefferson Ave St. Louis, MO 63118 - 3119
(314) 467-8763

Business Official (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)

Pablo Sobron
911 Washington Ave Ste 501 St. Louis, MO 63101 - 1243
(314) 695-6993
Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) :
Begin: 2
End: 4
Technical Abstract (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)

Chemical and mineralogical subsurface investigations have been limited to scooping and analysis of drill tailings (Viking, Phoenix, MSL), or crushing drill-core materials and subsequent delivery and analysis (ExoMars rover). This approach is resource-taxing, involving multiple mechanical interfaces. We propose to develop the Probe for Exploring Regolith and Ice by Subsurface Classification of Organics, PAHs, and Elements (PERISCOPE). PERISCOPE enables in situ subsurface measurements in a compact package with no moving parts, and provides spatially resolved mapping of three priority targets: 1) organic compounds relevant to astrobiology, including microorganisms, 2) water content and 3) rare-earth elements. In Phase I we will assemble a breadboard composed of a UV fluorescence imaging spectrometer and a novel downhole optical probe, verify performance by testing on relevant samples, and design a TRL4/5 instrument that will be the baseline entry for Phase II.

PERISCOPE supports Mission Focus Areas articulated by NASA’s Planetary Science Directorate and responds to the 2013-2022 Decadal Survey priorities emphasizing the need for instruments to access the subsurface and for trace organic detection. PERISCOPE is highly relevant to subtopic S1.07 by addressing:

  1. Technologies for high precision in situ measurements of organics/elements targeting Martian environments: PERISCOPE classifies and determines the distribution of trace organics, rare earth elements, and water (liquid, ice, and bound in minerals) with 100um precision over cm-scale areas.
  2. Instruments for sample interrogation prior to Mars sample return: PERISCOPE can map within a borehole, scan a core post-acquisition, or scan a surface prior to sampling.
  3. Imagers and spectrometers that provide high performance in low light and resource identification for small bodies: PERISCOPE is an imaging spectrometer that uses active UV illumination to detect trace organics, rare-earth elements.
Potential NASA Applications (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)

PERISCOPE is appropriate for SIMPLEx/Discovery scale missions and any mission whose priority goal is to search for organic matter and potential biosignatures, water in any form, or rare-earth elements, including lunar and icy environment surveying.

The PERISCOPE optical probe may be easily sterilized and therefore may have Planetary Protection applications. The optical probe can be positioned to examine spacecraft, instruments and optics in situ in a clean room, assembly facility, on the launchpad, or during flight to assess organic cleanliness.

Potential Non-NASA Applications (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)

PERISCOPE is applicable to deep ocean research, including resource exploration (oil & gas, mining) and diversity survey of biological material at depth.

PERISCOPE can identify and quantify organic species of interest in environmental logging and fluid and rock sampling.

PERISCOPE may be relevant in epidemiology and contamination event response to determine surface cleanliness on unprepared surfaces.

Duration: 6

Form Generated on 06/29/2020 21:10:44