PIA16573: Heating Martian Sand Grains
Target Name: Mars
Mission: Mars Science Laboratory (MSL)
Spacecraft: Curiosity
Instrument: SAM
Product Size: 1721 x 1322 pixels (width x height)
Produced By: Goddard Space Flight Center
Full-Res TIFF: PIA16573.tif (6.828 MB)
Full-Res JPEG: PIA16573.jpg (240 kB)

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Original Caption Released with Image:

This plot of data from NASA's Mars rover Curiosity shows the variety of gases that were released from sand grains upon heating in the Sample Analysis at Mars instrument, or SAM. The gases detected were released from fine-grain material, and include water vapor, carbon dioxide, oxygen and sulfur dioxide.

SAM has three instruments for analyzing gas from samples heated to different temperatures: a quadrupole mass spectrometer (QMS), a gas chromatograph (GC) and a tunable laser spectrometer (TLS). Together, they are capable of obtaining the composition of gases; identifying different isotopes of lighter elements; and detecting organic, or carbon-containing, materials if present.

JPL manages the Mars Science Laboratory/Curiosity for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. The rover was designed, developed and assembled at JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.

For more about NASA's Curiosity mission, visit: http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/msl, http://www.nasa.gov/mars, and http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl.

Image Credit:
NASA/JPL-Caltech/GSFC

Image Addition Date:
2012-12-03