MOMA: Lasers searching for traces of life on Mars

Within the scope of the ExoMars 2020 mission, the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Russian space organization Roskosmos will be sending a rover to our neighbor planet Mars. The goal of this mission is to actively search for past or present life on Mars. For this purpose, there are various scientific instruments aboard the rover. The largest of these instruments is the Mars Organic Molecule Analyzer - MOMA. To study soil samples from Mars, the MOMA has two modes of operation:

  1. a gas chromatograph combined with a mass spectrometer (GC-MS)
    as well as
  2. a laser desorption mass spectrometer (LD-MS)

For the LD-MS, the LZH has developed, built, tested and qualified the flight model of a pulsed, ultra-compact and low weight laser system that is emitting in the ultraviolet spectral range. Finally, together with the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, the LZH delivered the model to the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC).

The video shows the structure and operation of the MOMA instrument. The video was made available by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC).

Dr. Jörg Neumann
Head of Laser Development Department
Phone: +49 511 2788-210