Helmholtz Prize for trackers on Mars

Physicist G star Klingelh fer awarded for technical development

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He searched for water on Mars, targeted rock art in Brazil, and studied pigments in ancient vases, each with remarkable results. The MIMOS sensor is a roughly 100 times smaller version of a usually much larger laboratory colleague and was developed by G star Klingelh fer. The Physicist from Mainz receives this year's Helmholtz Prize for Metrology, which is endowed with 20, 000 euros, for this achievement and the resulting quality of the measurements.


MIMOS is a miniaturized Mössbauer spectrometer. A measuring instrument with which it is very precisely possible to carry out chemical analyzes and trace examinations. The effect underlying the spectrometer was named after its discoverer and later Nobel laureate, Rudolf Mössbauer.

Typically, Mössbauer spectrometers are pure laboratory measuring instruments with correspondingly large dimensions and thus rather unsuitable for space missions. Klingelhöfer from the Institute of Inorganic Chemistry and Analytical Chemistry at the University of Mainz, however, succeeded in accommodating the same measuring principle in much smaller geometries. So small that even ESA and NASA became aware of it and equipped their Mars missions with this gauge.

Iron compounds on Mars

The spectra measured on sedimentary rocks with MIMOS on Mars caused a great deal of attention in the scientific community and in the media. Because MIMOS was able to detect special iron compounds in the rock samples, which could have been created only in humid surroundings - a clear indication that there must have been significant amounts of water on Mars. display

The Helmholtz Prize for Metrology is awarded jointly by the Helmholtz Fund and the Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft. The official award ceremony will take place in the festive setting on Monday, June 18, 2007, in the Altstadtrathaus (Dornse) in Braunschweig.

(idw - Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB), 24.04.2007 - DLO)