. Mars Exploration News .

Mars Soil Sample Delivered for Analysis Inside Rover
by Staff Writers
Pasadena CA (JPL) Oct 19, 2012

illustration only

NASA's Mars rover Curiosity has ingested its first solid sample into an analytical instrument inside the rover, a capability at the core of the two-year mission.

The rover's Chemistry and Mineralogy (CheMin) instrument is analyzing this sample to determine what minerals it contains.

"We are crossing a significant threshold for this mission by using CheMin on its first sample," said Curiosity's project scientist, John Grotzinger of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.

"This instrument gives us a more definitive mineral-identifying method than ever before used on Mars: X-ray diffraction. Confidently identifying minerals is important because minerals record the environmental conditions under which they form."

The sample is a sieved portion - about as much material as in a baby aspirin - from the third scoop collected by Curiosity as a windblown patch of dusty sand called "Rocknest." The rover's robotic arm delivered the sample to CheMin's opened inlet funnel on the rover's deck on Oct. 17.

The previous day, the rover shook the scooped material inside sample-processing chambers to scrub internal surfaces of any residue carried from Earth. One earlier scoopful was also used for cleaning.

Additional repetitions of this cleaning method will be used before delivery of a future sample to the rover's other internal analytic instrument, the Sample Analysis at Mars investigation, which studies samples' chemistry.

Various small bits of light-toned material on the ground at Rocknest have affected the rover's activities in the past several days. One piece about half an inch (1.3 centimeters) long was noticed on Oct. 7.

The rover team postponed use of the robotic arm for two days while investigating this object, and assessed it to be debris from the spacecraft.

Images taken after Curiosity collected its second scoop of Rocknest material on Oct. 12 showed smaller bits of light-toned material in the hole dug by the scooping action.

This led to discarding that scoopful rather than using it to scrub the processing mechanisms. Scientists assess these smaller, bright particles to be native Martian material, not from the spacecraft.

"We plan to learn more both about the spacecraft material and about the smaller, bright particles," said Curiosity Project Manager Richard Cook of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena.

"We will finish determining whether the spacecraft material warrants concern during future operations. The native Mars particles become fodder for the mission's scientific studies."


Related Links
Mars Science Laboratory
Mars News and Information at MarsDaily.com
Lunar Dreams and more

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Memory Foam Mattress Review

Newsletters :: SpaceDaily Express :: SpaceWar Express :: TerraDaily Express :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

Get Our Free Newsletters
Space - Defense - Environment - Energy - Solar - Nuclear


Rover's Second Scoop Discarded, Third Scoop Commanded
Pasadena CA (JPL) Oct 16, 2012
Commands will be sent to Curiosity instructing the rover to collect a third scoop of soil from the "Rocknest" site of windblown Martian sand and dust. Pending evaluation of this Sol 69 (Oct. 15, 2012) scooping, a sample from the scoopful is planned as the first sample for delivery - later this week - to one of the rover's internal analytical instruments, the Chemistry and Mineralogy (CheMi ... read more

Model reconciles Lunar Earth composition with giant impact theory

Massive planetary collision may have zapped key elements from moon

Proof at last: Moon was created in giant smashup

Giant smashup created the Moon, say scientists

China launches civilian technology satellites

ChangE-2 Mission To Lagrange L2 Point

Meeting of heads of ESA and China Manned Space Agency

China Spacesat gets 18-million-USD gov't support

ISS Orbit to be Adjusted for Next Spacecraft

Crew Unloads Dragon, Finds Treats

Station Crew Opens Dragon Hatch

NASA and International Partners Approve Year Long ISS Stay

Keck Observations Bring Weather Of Uranus Into Sharp Focus

At Pluto, Moons and Debris May Be Hazardous to New Horizons Spacecraft During Flyby

Sharpest-ever Ground-based Images of Pluto and Charon: Proves a Powerful Tool for Exoplanet Discoveries

The Kuiper Belt at 20: Paradigm Changes in Our Knowledge of the Solar System

Giant impact scenario may explain the unusual moons of Saturn

What's Baking on Titan?

The sound in Saturn's rings: RUB-Physicists explain nonlinear dust acoustic waves in dusty plasmas

A Long and Winding Road: Cassini Celebrates 15 Years

Landsat Science Team to Help Guide Next Landsat Mission

TerraSAR-X images Bonneville salt flats

Earth Observation Commercial Data Market Remains Strong Despite Slowdown in 2011

Antarctic Rift Subject of International Attention

NASA must reinvest in nanotechnology research, according to new Rice University paper

Austrian space diver no stranger to danger

Baumgartner feat boosts hopes for imperilled astronauts

Austrian breaks sound barrier in record space jump

New small satellite will study super-Earths for ESA

Most Planetary Systems are 'Flatter than Pancakes'

Glitch could end NASA planet search

Ultra-Compact Planetary System Is A Touchstone For Understanding New Planet Population

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2012 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement