Geochemistry on Mars Using an
Array of Electrochemical Sensors
Samuel P. Kounaves1*, Martin G. Buehler2, Michael H. Hecht2, and Steve West3
1. Tufts University,
Department of Chemistry, Medford, MA, 02155
2. Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, 91109
3. Orion Research, Inc., Beverly, MA, 01915
Determining the geochemistry in the remote hostile Martian environment requires sensors specifically designed to meet such a unique challenge. We report here on the initial development, considerations, and a prototype array of electrochemical sensors for measuring in-situ a variety of ionic species in the Martian soil (regolith). The sensor array consists mainly of potentiometric ion selective electrodes but also includes conductivity, and voltammetric microelectrodes for determination of heavy metals. The array functions as an integral unit and is designed to take advantage of data processing systems such as neural networks.