Video by NASAexplorer
A NASA news story explains the instrument that Dr. ten Kate works on:
The final version will be called VAPoR, for Volatile Analysis by Pyrolysis of Regolith, NASA-speak for heating up soil and analyzing the gases. The prototype contains tiny ovens that gradually heat samples to more than 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit (about 1400 degrees Celsius). As the temperature rises, different compounds vaporize and are directed into a mass spectrometer, which separates and identifies atoms and molecules based on their weight and electric charge.
This winter, Dr. ten Kate led an expedition into a cinder cone atop Mauna Kea, Hawaii, to test the VAPoR prototype.
Read Dr. ten Kate's blog about her trips to field test the VAPOR prototype at http://vapor-fieldtesting.blogspot.com
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