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Accession Number N20120013646
Title Developement of the Potassium-Argon Laser Experiment (KArLE) for In Situ Geochronology.
Publication Date Mar 2012
Media Count 2p
Personal Author B. A. Cohen
Abstract Absolute dating of planetary samples is an essential tool to establish the chronology of geological events, including crystallization history, magmatic evolution, and alteration. Thus far, radiometric geochronology of planetary samples has only been accomplishable in terrestrial laboratories on samples from dedicated sample return missions and meteorites. In situ instruments to measure rock ages have been proposed, but none have yet reached TRL 6, because isotopic measurements with sufficient resolution are challenging. We have begun work under the NASA Planetary Instrument Definition and Development Program (PIDDP) to develop the Potassium (K) - Argon Laser Experiment (KArLE), a novel combination of several flight-proven components that will enable accurate KAr isochron dating of planetary rocks. KArLE will ablate a rock sample, measure the K in the plasma state using laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS), measure the liberated Ar using quadrupole mass spectrometry (QMS), and relate the two by measuring the volume of the abated pit using a optical methods such as a vertical scanning interferometer (VSI). Our preliminary work indicates that the KArLE instrument will be capable of determining the age of several kinds of planetary samples to 100 Myr, sufficient to address a wide range of geochronology problems in planetary science. Additional benefits derive from the fact that each KArLE component achieves analyses common to most planetary surface missions.
Keywords Ablation
Argon lasers
Laser-induced breakdown spectroscop
Mass spectroscopy
Planetary surfaces
Sample return missions

Source Agency National Aeronautics and Space Administration
NTIS Subject Category 54 - Astronomy & Astrophysics
46C - Optics & Lasers
48F - Geology & Geophysics
Corporate Author National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Huntsville, AL. George C. Marshall Space Flight Center.
Document Type Conference proceedings
Title Note N/A
NTIS Issue Number 1306
Contract Number N/A

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