8th March 2019

Gas Chromatography Mass Spectrometry to be performed on Mars

A rover will search for life on Mars using Gas Chromatography  (GC) and Mass Spectrometry (Mass Spec) equipment.

The Franklin rover, named after DNA double-helix co-discoverer Rosalind Franklin, will be launched in July 2020 to travel to Mars. The rover’s mission is to search for life once it lands near the red planet’s equator, on a plain of 3 billion year old clay which is believed to be the remains of an ancient river delta.

To facilitate its mission, the Franklin rover will be carrying 26kg of scientific equipment, including four gas chromatography-mass spectrometry columns and a Raman spectrometer.


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The Franklin rover will be the first ever rover to analyse samples from beneath Mars’ surface. A two metre long drill will be used to collect samples from beneath the surface which will then be analysed by the rover’s custom Mars Organic Molecule Analyzer (MOMA). Using GC and Mass Spec, MOMA combines a tiny gas chromatograph and mass spectrometer with an oven and laser. The laser will be used to vaporise organic molecules from samples.


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It seems then that the question of life on Mars could be answered in a matter of years thanks to gas chromatography mass spectrometry.  Gas chromatography and Mass Spectrometry have already answered a number of important scientific questions and recently Mass Spec has advanced research into a cure for Ebola.

At Peak Scientific, we fully understand the significance of Mass Spectrometry and Gas Chromatography applications which is why we develop quality and robust Mass Spec and GC gas solutions.

If you require zero air, hydrogen or nitrogen for your application please contact us or view our full range of gas generator solutions here.



Chemistry World 1 

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