Oceanus Borealis EnvironmentChlorinated Compounds The first examinations of Martian soil by SAM's instruments show no definitive detection of Martian organic molecules at this point. Organic molecules are carbon-containing compounds essential for life on Earth. The instrument did detect simple chlorinated carbon compounds, represented by ball and stick models on the graph. These compounds contain hydrogen and carbon as well as chlorine. More work is needed to determine if the carbon in these molecules is of terrestrial or Martian origin. The chlorinated compounds were likely created from a reaction with perchlorate or a perchlorite-like phase and carbon-containing molecules. Future experiments will further address the question of the observed carbon's origins. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/GSFC
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Six month after the landing of Curiosity, what did we learn? (page 2)
Geology & Atmosphere
Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Guelph Sample of soils have been investigated by Curiosity APXS instrument (alpha particle X ray spectrometer, from the turret of the Rover's arm). The results indicate that the samples studied by Curiosity are very similar to those at previous landing sites (of Spirit and Opportunity). Global homogeneity is a result of the atmosphere and its global winds. Error bars indicate the variations for the given number of soils measured for the MER along their traverse. Note that concentrations of silicon dioxide and iron oxide were divided by 10, and nickel, zinc and bromine levels were multiplied by 100.
Heating Martian Sand Grains 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. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/GSFC
Signs of Perchlorates and Sulfur Containing Compounds NASA's Mars rover Curiosity has detected sulfur, chlorine, and oxygen compounds in fine grains scooped by the rover at a wind drift site called "Rocknest." The grains were heated and analyzed using the rover's SAM instrument suite. Scientists indicate the oxygen and chlorine may come from perchlorate or similar compounds, which contain chlorine and oxygen. Perchlorates were also found by NASA's Phoenix Lander at a different location on Mars. The sulfur compounds suggest the presence of sulfides or sulfates in the grains. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/GSFC
Page 3 Page 12. The Martian Dust Curiosity confirmed the components of the Martian dust: Analysis made from a sample of windrift dust scooped in "Rocknest" (100 m from Glenelg).
Frozen CO2 Methane Gale Crater Dust SGM2010 Pressures Changes