Extraction Protocols for the Life Marker Chip 2009 Q2

Lead Research Organisation: Imperial College London
Department Name: Earth Science and Engineering

Abstract

The extraction of organic molecules from samples on Mars and their subsequent delivery to an instrument capable of characterizing their chemistry represents a substantial analytical challenge. Difficulties arise because of the various chemical properties of the target molecules. Biological molecules are predominantly polar and dissolve readily in aqueous solutions whereas fossil organic molecules are non polar and dissolve in organic solvents; abiotic molecules can contain both types. The organic molecules may reside in a number of lithologies each of which can selectively retain certain analytes. These matrix effects represent potential barriers for effective extraction procedures. This work will assess further options for improving sample extraction and analyte concentration, with application to several rock types for the Life Marker Chip.

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