A computer program implements a model of the performance of the CheMin (Chemistry and Mineralogy) instrument — a miniaturized instrument that simultaneously performs x-ray diffraction (XRD) and x-ray fluorescence (XRF) measurements on small material samples. The CheMin instrument is being developed for use in exploring Mars and possibly other extraterrestrial bodies.

The model consists mostly of submodels of the XRD and XRF performance. The model is intended to be used by the instrument-development team for system- engineering purposes, notably including (1) verification or establishment of the flow of requirements from scientific objectives to instrument-design and -performance parameters; (2) assessment of effects, on performance, of changes in design and/or nominal operating conditions; and (3) improvement of the ability of the team to interpret data from experiments on other instruments or on breadboard versions of instrument systems.

The model is meant to be used to perform rapid approximate analyses of behavior of the instrument as a whole. It is expected that detailed examinations of higher-order effects will be done separately. Results from those examinations should be incorporated into the model in simplified form as they become available.

This program was written by Curtis W. Chen of Caltech for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. For more information, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

This software is available for commercial licensing. Please contact Dan Broderick at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Refer to NPO-44702.


NASA Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the February, 2014 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

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