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Topic: Atomosphere

NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity’s Sample Analysis at Mars, or SAM Instrument receives it’s first Martion Soil Sample for Analysis

 

Written by Guy Webster
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – 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 November 9th.

This subframe image from the left Mast Camera (Mastcam) on NASA's Mars rover Curiosity shows the covers in place over two sample inlet funnels of the rover's Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument suite. (Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

This subframe image from the left Mast Camera (Mastcam) on NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity shows the covers in place over two sample inlet funnels of the rover’s Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument suite. (Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

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NASA’s Cassini Spacecraft Detects Hint of Fresh Air at Saturn’s moon Dione

 

Written by Jia-Rui C. Cook
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has “sniffed” molecular oxygen ions around Saturn’s icy moon Dione for the first time, confirming the presence of a very tenuous atmosphere.

The oxygen ions are quite sparse – one for every 0.67 cubic inches of space (one for every 11 cubic centimeters of space) or about 2,550 per cubic foot (90,000 per cubic meter) – show that Dione has an extremely thin neutral atmosphere.

This view highlights tectonic faults and craters on Dione, an icy world that has undoubtedly experienced geologic activity since its formation. (Image credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute)

This view highlights tectonic faults and craters on Dione, an icy world that has undoubtedly experienced geologic activity since its formation. (Image credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute)

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