Music provided by Killer Tracks: "Fast Motion" by Stephen Daniel Lemaire, "Game Show Spheres 5-6" by Anselm Kreuzer, "Floating" by Ben Niblett & Jon Cotton
One of the biggest questions in planetary science is whether life ever arose on Mars, and NASA is sending a cutting-edge instrument to the Red Planet to find out. The Mars Organic Molecule Analyzer, or MOMA, is a sophisticated suite of technologies that squeezes a lab full of chemistry equipment into a package the size of a toaster. In 2020, MOMA will be launched to Mars aboard the European Space Agency's ExoMars rover, on a mission to scour rocks and soil from the Martian surface and subsurface for evidence of life.
MOMA will not only search for organic molecules, which make up all life on Earth, it will also analyze their structure using its linear ion trap – the first use of this technology on Mars. Doing so will help scientists to determine whether the molecules could be of biological origin, marking a significant leap forward in the search for life beyond Earth.
MOMA's mass spectrometer subsystem and main electronics were built at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. The pulsed UV laser and high-temperature ovens were developed in Germany, and the gas chromatograph in France. ExoMars is the primary Mars exploration program of the European Space Agency.