Highlight on the indigenous organic molecules detected on Mars by SAM and potential sources of artifacts and backgrounds generated by the sample preparation

Abstract : Among the experiments which explore the martian soil aboard the Curiosity Rover, SAM experiment is mainly dedicated to the search for indigenous organic compounds. To reach its goals SAM can operate in different analysis modes: Pyrolysis-GC-MS and Pyrolysis-MS (EGA). In addition SAM includes wet chemistry experiments [1] to supports extraction of polar organic compounds from solid samples that improves their detection either by increasing the release of chemical species from solid sample matrices, or by changing their chemical structure to make compounds more amenable to gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GCMS). The two wet chemistry experimental capabilities of SAM provide alternatives to the nominal inert-thermal desorption/pyrolysis analytical protocol and are more aptly suited for polar components: MTBSTFA derivatization [2-3] and TMAH thermochemolysis [4-5]. Here we focus on the MTBSTFA derivatization experiment. In order to build a support used to help the interpretation of SAM results, we have investigated the artifacts and backgrounds sources generated by the all analysis process: Solid sample were heated up to approximately 840°C at a rate of 35°C/min under He flow. For GC analyses, the majority of the gas released was trapped on a hydrocarbon trap (Tenax®) over a specific temperature range. Adsorbed volatiles on the GC injection trap (IT) were then released into the GC column (CLP-MXT 30m x 0.25mm x 0.25µm) by rapidly heating the IT to 300°C. Then, in order better understand the part of compounds detected coming from internal reaction we have performed several lab experiments to mimic the SAM device: Among the sources of artifact, we test: (1) the thermal stability and the organic material released during the degradation of Tenax® and carbosieve, (2) the impact of MTBSTFA and a mixture of DMF and MTBSTFA on the adsorbent, (3) the reaction between the different adsorbents (Tenax® and Carbosieve) and calcium perchlorate and then (4) the sources and molecules that may constitute organic material precursors sources. References: [1] Mahaffy, P. et al. (2012) Space Sci Rev, 170, 401-478. [2] Glavin, D. et al. (2013), JGR. [3] Leshin L. et al. (2013), Science, [4] Williams, A.J., Eigenbrode, J.L.,m Floyd, M.M., Wilhelm, M.B., and Mahaffy, P.R., (2015), GSA. [5] Eigenbrode, J.L. et al. (2010), LPSC, abst.1460.
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Submitted on : Sunday, December 20, 2015 - 1:55:47 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, July 18, 2019 - 4:26:03 PM

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  • HAL Id : insu-01246905, version 1

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Arnaud Buch, Imène Belmahdi, Cyril Szopa, Caroline Freissinet, Daniel P. Glavin, et al.. Highlight on the indigenous organic molecules detected on Mars by SAM and potential sources of artifacts and backgrounds generated by the sample preparation. AGU Fall Meeting 2015, Dec 2015, San Francisco, United States. pp.P33A-2124. ⟨insu-01246905⟩

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