Characterization of the environment by X-Ray Diffraction

The characterization of Martian rocks and more specifically, characterization of their hydration is essential for evaluating of the presence of past present and / or futur life on the Red Planet. The objective of this experiment is to evaluate the hydration of the soil with an X-ray diffractometer.

The X-ray diffraction is a physico-chemical analysis method based on X-ray diffraction on the matter. It only works on the crystallized material and evaluates, among others, the hydration of samples. During the EVA, soil samples will be collected and analyzed in a portable diffractometer. The results will be interpreted on site and a second analysis will be conducted after the mission using a database provided by the University of Louvain.

Moreover, a distillation of magnesium perchlorate hydrate (compound recently discovered on Mars) will be made at the station. This second experiment will explore a practical way to use the data collected by the diffraction.