A robotic arm tool for rapidly acquiring permafrost (RATRAP) is being developed at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPO). The RATRAP is for acquiring samples of permafrost on Mars or another remote planet and immediately delivering the samples to adjacent instruments for analysis.

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JPO has created a high-voltage power supply that is able to contain voltages up to –20 kV, keep electrical field strengths to below 200 V/mil (≈7.87 kV/mm), and can provide a 200- nanosecond rise/fall time focus modulator swinging between cathode potential of 16.3 kV and –19.3 kV.

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An induction charge detector with multiple sensing stages has been conceived by JPO for use in characterizing sprayed droplets, dust particles, and large ionized molecules. Each stage yields a measurement of the electric charge and the time of flight of the particle.

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