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Topic: Sample Analysis at Mars

NASA Mars Curiosity Rover finds new mystery, Oxygen

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – For the first time in the history of space exploration, NASA scientists have measured the seasonal changes in the gases that fill the air directly above the surface of Gale Crater on Mars.

As a result, they noticed something baffling: oxygen, the gas many Earth creatures use to breathe, behaves in a way that so far scientists cannot explain through any known chemical processes.

Over the course of three Mars years (or nearly six Earth years) an instrument in the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) portable chemistry lab inside the belly of NASA’s Curiosity rover inhaled the air of Gale Crater and analyzed its composition.

NASA's Curiosity Mars rover imaged these drifting clouds on May 17, 2019, the 2,410th Martian day, or sol, of the mission, using its black-and-white Navigation Cameras (Navcams). (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover imaged these drifting clouds on May 17, 2019, the 2,410th Martian day, or sol, of the mission, using its black-and-white Navigation Cameras (Navcams). (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Curiosity rover measures large amount of Methane on Mars

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover has discovered the largest amount of methane ever measured on Mars during the mission. Curiosity measured about 21 parts per billion units by volume (ppbv). One ppbv means that if you take a volume of air on Mars, one billionth of the volume of air is methane.

The finding came from the rover’s Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) tunable laser spectrometer. It’s exciting because microbial life is an important source of methane on Earth, but methane can also be created through interactions between rocks and water.

This image was taken by the left Navcam on NASA's Curiosity Mars rover on June 18, 2019, the 2,440th Martian day, or sol, of the mission. It shows part of "Teal Ridge," which the rover has been studying within a region called the "clay-bearing unit." (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

This image was taken by the left Navcam on NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover on June 18, 2019, the 2,440th Martian day, or sol, of the mission. It shows part of “Teal Ridge,” which the rover has been studying within a region called the “clay-bearing unit.” (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover back to full operation after computer glitch

 

Written by Guy Webster
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity has resumed science investigations after recovery from a computer glitch that prompted the engineers to switch the rover to a redundant main computer on February 28th.

The rover has been monitoring the weather since March 21st and delivered a new portion of powdered-rock sample for laboratory analysis on March 23rd, among other activities.

This view of Curiosity's left-front and left-center wheels and of marks made by wheels on the ground in the "Yellowknife Bay" area comes from one of six cameras used on Mars for the first time more than six months after the rover landed. The left Navigation Camera (Navcam) linked to Curiosity's B-side computer took this image during the 223rd Martian day, or sol, of Curiosity's work on Mars (March 22, 2013). The wheels are 20 inches (50 centimeters) in diameter. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

This view of Curiosity’s left-front and left-center wheels and of marks made by wheels on the ground in the “Yellowknife Bay” area comes from one of six cameras used on Mars for the first time more than six months after the rover landed. The left Navigation Camera (Navcam) linked to Curiosity’s B-side computer took this image during the 223rd Martian day, or sol, of Curiosity’s work on Mars (March 22, 2013). The wheels are 20 inches (50 centimeters) in diameter. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Curiosity rover analysis of rock sample reveals Mars at one time could have supported Life

 

Written by Dr. Tony Phillips
Science at NASA

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – An analysis of a rock sample recently collected by NASA’s Curiosity rover shows ancient Mars could have supported living microbes.

“A fundamental question for this mission is whether Mars could have supported a habitable environment,” said Michael Meyer, lead scientist for NASA’s Mars Exploration Program at the agency’s headquarters in Washington. “From what we know now, the answer is yes.”

These fine-grained sediments, likely deposited under water, suggest that Mars could have supported ancient microbial life.  Data gathered by Curiosity indicate a habitable environment characterized by neutral pH, chemical gradients that would have created energy for microbes, and a distinctly low salinity, which would have helped metabolism if microorganisms had ever been present. (Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell/MSSS)

These fine-grained sediments, likely deposited under water, suggest that Mars could have supported ancient microbial life. Data gathered by Curiosity indicate a habitable environment characterized by neutral pH, chemical gradients that would have created energy for microbes, and a distinctly low salinity, which would have helped metabolism if microorganisms had ever been present. (Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell/MSSS)

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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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