[meteorite-list] Curiosity Rover's 'SAM' Lab Instrument Suite Tastes Soil

From: Ron Baalke <baalke_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Tue, 13 Nov 2012 12:53:49 -0800 (PST)
Message-ID: <201211132053.qADKrnHS000740_at_zagami.jpl.nasa.gov>


Rover's 'SAM' Lab Instrument Suite Tastes Soil
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
November 13, 2012

PASADENA, Calif. -- A pinch of fine sand and dust became the first solid
Martian sample deposited into the biggest instrument on NASA's Mars
rover Curiosity: the Sample Analysis at Mars, or SAM.

Located inside the rover, SAM examines the chemistry of samples it
ingests, checking particularly for chemistry relevant to whether an
environment can support life. Curiosity's robotic arm delivered SAM's
first taste of Martian soil to an inlet port on the rover deck on Nov.
9. During the following two days, SAM used mass spectrometry, gas
chromatography and laser spectrometry to analyze the sample.

The sample came from the patch of windblown material called "Rocknest,"
which had provided a sample previously for mineralogical analysis by
Curiosity's Chemistry and Mineralogy (CheMin) instrument. CheMin also
received a new sample from the same Rocknest scoop that fed SAM. SAM has
previously analyzed samples of the Martian atmosphere.

"We received good data from this first solid sample," said SAM Principal
Investigator Paul Mahaffy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center,
Greenbelt, Md. "We have a lot of data analysis to do, and we are
planning to get additional samples of Rocknest material to add
confidence about what we learn."

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute
of Technology, Pasadena, manages the Mars Science Laboratory Project for
NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. JPL designed and built
the rover.

More information about Curiosity is online at
http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/msl , http://www.nasa.gov/msl and
http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/ . You can follow the mission on Facebook
at: http://www.facebook.com/marscuriosity and on Twitter at:
http://www.twitter.com/marscuriosity .

Guy Webster 818-354-6278
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
Guy.Webster at jpl.nasa.gov

Received on Tue 13 Nov 2012 03:53:49 PM PST

Help support this free mailing list:

Yahoo MyWeb