SHERLOC Instrument Will Help Search for Signs of Life in Mars

SHERLOC Instrument Will Help Search for Signs of Life in Mars

NASA is planning to launch the Mars 2020 robotic rover to one of the mysterious planets which is sometimes called Red planet. It is loaded with equipment to search for signs that there once was life on Mars. It is going to launch the next summer.

The device is called Scanning Habitable Environments with Raman & Luminescence for Organics & Chemicals (SHERLOC) instrument, a little bit longer.

The instrument is designed to detect chemicals on the Martian surface that are linked to the existence of life.

“SHERLOC is pretty complicated, and we came up with a list of 11 things that all have to be calibrated on this instrument,” said Marc Fries, ARES planetary scientist and Mars 2020 instrument co-investigator. “This sophisticated calibration device is also going to be used for a lot of other scientific and engineering investigations, and we’re really excited that it’s JSC’s contribution to the Mars 2020 rover.”

“The rover’s scientific instruments go through all sorts of harsh conditions from the time they leave the lab until they arrive on the surface of Mars. SHERLOC instrument needed a way to make sure it still operates as expected once it’s on the surface and throughout the duration of the mission,” said Trevor Graff, a scientist from Jacobs who works for ARES.

The solution was to create the calibration target and is approximately the size of a large cell phone and mounted on the front of the rover. On its face are 10 “targets,” which consist of examples of different materials.

“I don’t always get to see the hardware that I work on in person,” Weiner said, “So I really enjoyed being so hands-on helping to assemble the calibration target.”

Source: Text; NASA

Image credit; NASA, forcetoknow.com