A. Riedo, A. Bieler, M. Neuland, M. Tulej and P. Wurz
Space has been called the final frontier and for generations scientists have been seeking to answer a basic question, “What is it made of?” Various instrumentation payloads have been sent to our nearest planetary neighbors to help answer this question and a mass spectrometer is often among those instruments selected for the journey. However, payload space is expensive and a service engineer isn't ‘just around the corner’. So, key design aspects for an interplanetary instrument is performance, miniaturization and ruggedness. In this month's Special Feature Riedo and coworkers at the University of Bern describe the performance of an improved Laser Ionization Mass Spectrometry (LIMS)-TOF instrument designed for measuring the elemental composition of inter-planetary materials.