Spectroscopy and Space Exploration: Outer Space – The Final Frontier


Outer space is a vast expanse beyond Earth’s atmosphere and between celestial bodies.

Spectroscopy magazine is pleased to welcome you to the “Outer Space: The Final Frontier” landing page, one of three landing pages in our “Spectroscopy and Space Exploration” content series.

This landing page houses several articles that focus on the great work of spectroscopists that used spectroscopic techniques to facilitate technological advancements for exploring outer space. Spectroscopic topics that are covered in these articles include laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) and visible-near infrared (vis-NIR) spectroscopy.

Geochemical Analysis Using Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy

By: Steve Buckley

Laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) is an ideal method for elemental analysis of geological samples. Although X-ray fluorescence (XRF) can measure a wide variety of elements, it struggles to measure elements lighter than silicon, meaning that many key crustal elements cannot be measured. In addition, as a fast, standoff method, LIBS can be employed in a variety of geometries with various distances from the target. LIBS has famously been employed by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) on their Mars rovers, first in the ChemCam instrument and now in the SuperCam instrument. This article summarizes both the basic methodology and the most successful calibration and quantification methods to date.

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Simulation of an Algorithm for Space Target Materials Identification Based on vis-NIR Hyperspectral Data

By: Qingbo Li, Ruiguang Zhao, Xingjin Miao

Space target recognition is of great importance for maintaining aerospace safety and national security. When observing a space target, owing to the low spatial resolution of ground-based observation equipment, each pixel in a hyperspectral image might represent a mixture of several different materials. Hyperspectral unmixing is a process used to extract the endmembers and their corresponding abundances from hyperspectral data. Unfortunately, most existing methods cannot make full use of the available spatial information data. This article proposes a new local manifold sparse regularized unmixing model based on similarity regularized nonnegative matrix factorization (SRNMF). To exploit the spatial information of the vis-NIR (approximately 400–2500 nm) hyperspectral image of a space target, image segmentation is introduced to generate similar local regions. These local regions are generated adaptively, and pixels within each region have similar abundance sparseness. Simulation experiments validated the high efficiency and precision of the proposed algorithm, which should also be suitable for other spectral analysis applications.

Click here to read this article: https://www.spectroscopyonline.com/view/simulation-of-an-algorithm-for-space-target-materials-identification-based-on-vis-nir-hyperspectral-data

Developing Spectroscopy Instruments for Use in Extreme Environments

By: John Chasse

Spectroscopy can be difficult to carry out outside a controlled laboratory environment. Imagine, then, the hurdles that would accompany performing spectroscopy in the extreme conditions of deep space or the ocean floor. Mike Angel, a professor of chemistry at the University of South Carolina, has taken on those challenges, working on new types of instruments for remote and in situ laser spectroscopy, with a focus on deep-ocean, planetary, and homeland security applications of deep UV Raman, and laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy to develop the tools necessary to work within these extreme environments.

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Miniaturized Laser Ablation–Desorption Ionization Mass Spectrometry (LIMS or LMS) for Analysis of Solids and Materials Found in Space Exploration (original title: The 2023 Emerging Leader in Atomic Spectroscopy)

By: Jerome Workman, Jr.

This year’s Atomic Spectroscopy Award recipient is Andreas Riedo. For the past decade, Riedo’s research has focused on the development of fundamental measurement methodologies using miniaturized laser ablation–desorption ionization mass spectrometry (LIMS or LMS) for the chemical (elements, isotopes, and molecules) analysis of complex mineral surfaces, including semiconductor crystalline solids and materials found in space exploration.

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To continue your exploration of our “Spectroscopy and Space Exploration” content series, you can visit the other landing pages by clicking on the landing page you want to access below:

Mars – The Red Planet

Planets, Meteorites, and Other Celestial Objects

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