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Title: Detection and Degradation of Adenosine Monophosphate in Perchlorate-Spiked Martian Regolith Analog, by Deep-Ultraviolet Spectroscopy
Authors: Razzell Hollis, J.
Fornaro, T.
Rapin, W.
Wade, J.
Vicente Retortillo, Á.
Steele, A.
Bhartia, R.
Beegle, W.
Keywords: Deep UV spectroscopy;Mars;Biosignature detection;Photochemical degradation;Mars 2020
Issue Date: 25-Jan-2021
Publisher: Mary Ann Liebert Publishers
DOI: 10.1089/ast.2020.2362
Published version:
Citation: Astrobiology 21(5): 511-525(2021)
Abstract: The search for organic biosignatures on Mars will depend on finding material protected from the destructive ambient radiation. Solar ultraviolet can induce photochemical degradation of organic compounds, but certain clays have been shown to preserve organic material. We examine how the SHERLOC instrument on the upcoming Mars 2020 mission will use deep-ultraviolet (UV) (248.6 nm) Raman and fluorescence spectroscopy to detect a plausible biosignature of adenosine 5′-monophosphate (AMP) adsorbed onto Ca-montmorillonite clay. We found that the spectral signature of AMP is not altered by adsorption in the clay matrix but does change with prolonged exposure to the UV laser over dosages equivalent to 0.2–6 sols of ambient martian UV. For pure AMP, UV exposure leads to breaking of the aromatic adenine unit, but in the presence of clay the degradation is limited to minor alteration with new Raman peaks and increased fluorescence consistent with formation of 2-hydroxyadenosine, while 1 wt % Mg perchlorate increases the rate of degradation. Our results confirm that clays are effective preservers of organic material and should be considered high-value targets, but that pristine biosignatures may be altered within 1 sol of martian UV exposure, with implications for Mars 2020 science operations and sample caching.
E-ISSN: 1557-8070
ISSN: 1531-1074
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