Press Release

Astrobiology Acupuncture

By SpaceRef Editor
December 9, 2014
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Researchers have turned to acupuncture in order to study samples from rough and uneven surfaces, such as rocks and meteorites. Using the technique, scientists have developed a robotic system that can collect samples from these non-planar surfaces.

The system uses a 3-D camera mounted on a robotic arm to map the irregular surface of an object. Then an acupuncture needle pokes and probes a tiny spot selected by the scientists. A minuscule amount of material is collected at the tip of the needle and is carried by the robotic arm to a mass spectrometer.

The work was supported by the Center for Chemical Evolution, a joint program from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and NASA Astrobiology Program. Initial funding came from a NSF Major Research Instrumentation (MRI) Instrument Development Program grant.

 

SpaceRef staff editor.