Rosetta Heads to Comet for Some Serious GC/MS. Read Free Chapter from Quadrupole Ion Trap Mass Spectrometry

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  • Published: Jan 27, 2014
  • Author: separationsNOW
  • Channels: Gas Chromatography / Base Peak
thumbnail image: Rosetta Heads to Comet for Some Serious GC/MS. Read Free Chapter from <I>Quadrupole Ion Trap Mass Spectrometry</I>
Rosetta approaching Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko

Quadrupole Ion Trap Mass Spectrometry (2nd Edn), 2005, Ch. 9, 291–307.
Ray E. March and John F. Todd

On March 2, 2004, an Ariane-5 rocket carrying the Rosetta “comet chaser” was launched at Kourou in French Guyana: the mission, to characterize the comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko, otherwise known as 67P. Although this event captured the fleeting attention of the media at the time, what was not particularly apparent is that one of the instruments with which this survey will be carried out is a mini–chemical laboratory, MODULUS, that includes a GC/MS system incorporating an ion trap mass spectrometer specially designed for isotope ratio measurements

The purpose of this chapter is to give an account of this highly unusual application of the ion trap and, in particular, to explore some of the technical and design considerations of a system that is fully automated yet is not due to reach its sample until towards the end of this year. While reading the description that follows, the reader may care to reflect on the fate of this lonely ion trap during its journey covering hundreds of millions of miles, effectively frozen in time since the earliest stages of the development program began in 1994! Most mass spectroscopists would expect to have utilized three or four new generations of instruments in a 20-year period and would not normally have to wait two decades to (hopefully) see their first analytical mass spectrum! Nor would they expect to have to incorporate an age distribution table into the initial funding application in order to demonstrate that at least some members of the original team, who know how to control the system and to interpret the data signals, will still be in place when the analyses are carried out.


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