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Astrobiology. 2009 Jun;9(5):437-42. doi: 10.1089/ast.2007.0173.

Availability of feature-oriented scanning probe microscopy for remote-controlled measurements on board a space laboratory or planet exploration Rover.

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  • 1Solid Nanotechnology Laboratory, Institute of Physical Problems, Moscow, Russian Federation.


Prospects for a feature-oriented scanning (FOS) approach to investigations of sample surfaces, at the micrometer and nanometer scales, with the use of scanning probe microscopy under space laboratory or planet exploration rover conditions, are examined. The problems discussed include decreasing sensitivity of the onboard scanning probe microscope (SPM) to temperature variations, providing autonomous operation, implementing the capabilities for remote control, self-checking, self-adjustment, and self-calibration. A number of topical problems of SPM measurements in outer space or on board a planet exploration rover may be solved via the application of recently proposed FOS methods.

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