BibTex format

author = {Royle, S and Cropper, L and Watson, J and Sinibaldi, S and Entwisle, M and Sephton, M},
doi = {10.1089/ast.2021.0030},
journal = {Astrobiology},
title = {Solid phase micro extraction for organic contamination control throughout assembly and operational phases of space missions},
url = {},
year = {2022}

RIS format (EndNote, RefMan)

AB - Space missions concerned with life detection contain highly sensitive instruments for the detection of organics. Terrestrial contamination can interfere with signals of indigenous organics in samples and has the potential to cause false positive biosignature detections, which may lead to incorrect suggestions of the presence of life elsewhere in the Solar System. This study assessed the capability of solid phase micro extraction (SPME) as a method for monitoring organic contamination encountered by spacecraft hardware during assembly and operation. SPME-gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (SPME-GC-MS) analysis was performed on potential contaminant source materials, which are commonly used in spacecraft construction. The sensitivity of SPME-GC-MS to organics was assessed in the context of contaminants identified in molecular wipes taken from hardware surfaces on the ExoMars Rosalind Franklin rover. SPME was found to be effective at detecting a wide range of common organic contaminants that include aromatic hydrocarbons, non-aromatic hydrocarbons, nitrogen-containing compounds, alcohols and carbonyls. A notable example of correlation of contaminant with source material was the detection of benzenamine compounds in an epoxy adhesive analyzed by SPME-GC-MS and in the ExoMars rover surface wipe samples. The current form of SPME-GC-MS does not enable quantitative evaluation of contaminants, nor is it suitable for the detection of every group of organic molecules relevant to astrobiological contamination concerns, namely, large and/or polar molecules such as amino acids. However, it nonetheless represents an effective new monitoring method for rapid, easy identification of organic contaminants commonly present on spacecraft hardware and could thus be utilized in future space missions as part of their contamination control and mitigation protocols.
AU - Royle,S
AU - Cropper,L
AU - Watson,J
AU - Sinibaldi,S
AU - Entwisle,M
AU - Sephton,M
DO - 10.1089/ast.2021.0030
PY - 2022///
SN - 1531-1074
TI - Solid phase micro extraction for organic contamination control throughout assembly and operational phases of space missions
T2 - Astrobiology
UR -
UR -
ER -