Valves opened after 5 hours of cycling, on average. The minimum vacuum required to re-open an opened, working valve was found to range from -0.185 to -0.219 bar from atmospheric pressure.
Prototypes for a low weight, miniaturized high voltage (~6000 V) system were designed and fabricated. The high voltage is required for powering the µCE and inducing the current required for separations. The breadboards fit within a 10 X 10 X 11 cm CubeSAT payload for a potential future deep space mission.
EOA is a ~2.5 kg instrument with a 16 cm by 16 cm footprint and low power requirement.
Valves in storage for 10+ years were opened by cycling the following process: apply a -0.750 bar pulse from atmospheric pressure for 500 ms, let return to atmospheric pressure for 500 ms. An open valve becomes apparent when the shadow of the valve appears more bubble-like, giving off a stronger reflection.
The EOA microdevice is designed to analyze a total of 10 samples for
amino acid chirality and
composition with sub-ppb sensitivity.
EOA is a technology demonstration option (TDO) on an Enceladus fly-by Discovery class mission proposal. Early technology readiness level (TRL) advancement will focus on showing microdevice survivability after extended storage, as well as under extreme temperature and vibrational conditions.
- Elon Musk