Analysis of Simulated Martian Regolith Using an Array of Ion Selective Electrodes

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Abstract

A prototype miniature array of polymer membrane and solid state ion selective electrodes was developed for the purpose of performing an in-situ analysis of the soluble ionic species in Martian regolith (soil). The array contains a total of 27 electrodes for K+, Na+, Ca2+, Mg2+, NHequation image, Ba2+, NOequation image, Cl, and Li+, each in triplicate. Barium electrodes were used to indirectly monitor sulfate through precipitation by the addition of barium chloride while the lithium electrodes served as a reference for the array by having a constant lithium concentration as a background for all solutions. The array was tested with several types of simulants, soils, and sawdust from a Mars meteorite, all with varying salt content, meant to approximate the various hypotheses regarding the ionic composition of the Martian soil. The activities of anions and cations determined with the array were compared to ion chromatography data.

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