in Space

Validair supplies airborne particle counter for studying Mars soil

Posted 8 September 2021

Was there life on Mars? Amongst the excitement of space missions to the Red Planet, successful landings and the deployment of the Mars Rover, it’s easy to forget that the vital analysis of samples retrieved from the surface will take place here, on our Blue Planet.

Image courtesy Validair

In preparation for the return of soil samples, the University of Leicester has designed a new doublewalled  isolator to provide a super‐sterile research and analysis environment, protecting the  invaluable Martian material from earthly contaminants. That protection will be constantly  monitored by a TSI AeroTrak 9110‐01 Airborne Particle Counter supplied by Validair Monitoring  Solutions Ltd.

The entire Mars project looks to the future, in more ways than one. With these extra‐terrestrial 
exploration projects spanning many years, planning is crucial. Even though soil samples from the  surface of Mars are not expected back on Earth for 10 years, the new isolator, its instruments  including the Validair APC, and the research facilities will be ready and validated. Some of the  students at the University’s Space Park working on project preparations today will be fully qualified  research scientists by the time the analysis process begins. At that point, we can expect to be closer  to answering the question: was there life on Mars?
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