The Laser Mass Spectrometer (LMS) is part of the actual challenge of reducing the size and the power consumption of various instruments to be accommodated on a lander or rover, for in-situ studies of planetary environment.
Laser Mass Spectrometer
Built around a miniature mass spectrometer and a laser ablation system; the LMS was designed initially to be deployed on an airless body, in the frame of the rover of the BepiColombo mission to Mercury. But the concept can easily be adapted for planets with an atmosphere such as Mars, for example.
Its purpose is to measure the elemental and isotopic composition of solids, for example: rocks and soils in a single instrument. It combines a mass analyzer and an ion source where the ions are directly coupled into the mass analyzer after they have been formed by green laser ablation.
The key characteristics of the LMS are:
The latest prototype, which will be tested in the SCI-A lab, has a demonstrated mass resolution m/∆m of 180 and a high dynamic range. Its size is roughly 100 × 80 × 70 mm at the moment but the flight instrument is expected to have a size of 70 × 30 × 40 mm and a mass of 280 g.
The developing team members are from the University of Berne (lead institution), the Swedish Institute of Space Physics, the Max-Planck Institute fur Aeronomie and Cosine.