Raman Spectroscopy for space applications. A new instrument’s generation for planetary exploration

15 December 2021. 13.00 CEST

Online: https://media.uc3m.es/live/event/61a622998f42086a3c8b456f

Andoni Moral Inza , Space Programs at INTA, Madrid, Spain

Raman spectroscopy was discovered in 1928. Due to its excellent capacity for molecular characterization of materials with no previous preparation, it has been part of the basic spectroscopic techniques of geochemical laboratories for many decades. However, its high complex design, mainly with the excitation needs (laser), and in its optics, has meant that this technique was not used for space applications until this decade.

From the beginning in 2007 until its final delivery in December 2018, INTA was responsible, (leading a complex international consortium) for the design, integration, qualification and verification of the first Raman spectrometer for space applications (Rull et al, Astrobiology Jul 2017. Vol 17. 627-654.) in history: the Raman Laser Spectrometer (RLS) instrument for ESA’s ExoMars Rover mission. Due to a launch delay, it will not reach Mars surface until June 2023.

Today, the Perseverance rover from NASA’s MARS2020 mission carries two other Raman spectrometers. SuperCam (combined with LIBS) and SHERLOC (with UV excitation). In SuperCam, INTA participated with the integration and testing of its Calibration sample.

Also, at this moment, the Japanese Space Agency JAXA, is preparing a mission to be lauched in 2021: the Martian Moons eXplorer (MMX). This mission includes a small rover that will be deposited on the surface of Phobos, with the RAman spectrometer for MMX (RAX) instrument, in which INTA is responsible for the excitation unit (laser). Throughout this decade, numerous missions are planned to the Moon, Mars and the icy moons of Jupiter and Saturn (Europa, Enceladous, Titan…) with in-situ study platforms (landers, rovers, drones…) to be deployed. On board of most of these missions, Raman spectroscopic instrumentation will be included.

Andoni Moral Inza
Andoni Moral Inza

Andoni G. Moral Inza is PhD in Physics Sciences (Cum Laude, 2019) by the University of Valladolid (UVa), and MD in Aerospace Engineering by Polytechnic University of Madrid (UPM).

He has developed his last years of career as Instrument Project Manager (IPM) and National Project Manager (NPM) for the Spanish contribution to the Raman Laser Spectrometer Instrument (RLS) for ESA’s ExoMars mission, at INTA, from 2015 until today. He is member of the Rover Science Operation Working Group (RSOWG) at ‘Micro’ scale; and has participated in the Oxia Planum (ExoMars Landing Site) mapping activities, at ‘Macro’ scale.

His expertise as space projects manager, and technical development background, lead him as Raman Laser Assembly Project Manager (RLA PM) for RAX for MMX (Raman Spectrometer for Martian Moons eXploration), at INTA, from 2018 until today; and he is one of the MMX (Martian Moons eXploration) Rover Co-I.

All along his career, he has been responsible for several technical developments, for Raman Instrumentation for Planetary Exploration, such as the RLS Internal Optical Head iOH Unit, the RLM Unit (Raman Laser Module) of RLS, from 2011 to 2015; and Head of AIV of the Raman Laser Spectrometer Instrument (RLS) for ESA’s ExoMars mission, at INTA, from 2009 until today.

He also took part, as head of AIV of the MTS team (MIRI Telescope Simulator for the ESA MIRI JWST), for ESA-NASA at INTA, from 2007 to 2010, where he received two awards for his significant contribution to the MIRI (Medium Infra-Red Instrument): the ‘ESA James Webb Space Telescope Significant Achievement Award’ (2013), and the ‘NASA James Webb Space Telescope Significant Achievement Award’ (2012). He has a multidisciplinary background (Space Projects Management, Raman Instruments development for Planetary Exploration, Space Technology development) with extensive laboratory and field experience.