ISS Update: Mars Science Laboratory — 07.31.12

Published on December 18, 2017

ISS Update commentator Pat Ryan interviews Dr. Doug Archer of the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) Science Team about the MSL mission, the Curiosity Rover and the SAM instrument.
Curiosity, the car-size, one-ton rover is bound for arrival on Mars at 1:31 a.m., EDT on Monday, Aug. 6. The landing will mark the beginning of a two-year prime mission to investigate one of the most intriguing places on Mars.
Archer discusses SAM, which will analyze samples of material collected and delivered by the rover’s arm. It includes a gas chromatograph, a mass spectrometer, and a tunable laser spectrometer with combined capabilities to identify a wide range of organic (carbon-containing) compounds and determine the ratios of different isotopes of key elements. Isotope ratios are clues to understanding the history of Mars’ atmosphere and water.
Questions? Ask us on @NASA_Johnson and include the hashtag #askStation.

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