Mars Soil Sample Delivered

October 19, 2012
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NASA's Curiosity rover delivers its first soil sample to its chemistry and mineralogy instrument.


Hello, I’m Betina Pavri, payload downlink coordinator, and this is your Curiosity rover update.

Curiosity continues scooping at Rocknest this week.

The Mastcam and Navcam instruments provided images and video used to assess the success of the scooping and sample processing activities. These images also provided confirmation that the sampling system was successfully cleaned.

Also this week, a soil sample was dropped off to the rovers observation tray for assessment by the science team.

This sample was determined to be suitable for drop off to the CheMin instrument.

The CheMin instrument uses X-rays in order to image the sample and determine what minerals make it up. This helps geologists understand how the rock formed and how it’s related to other rocks we’ve studied so far on Mars.

Scientists identified numerous bright grains in the soil. Because of this small piece of plastic from the landing event that had been found earlier in the week, the team proceeded cautiously, dumping the second scoop collected and imaging the bright grains.

These bright grains were later determined to be components of the Martian soil, and therefore, the sample was deemed to be suitable for delivery to the CheMin instrument for analysis.

The science team requested Mastcam and Navcam mosaics of outcrops in the direction of Glenelg, to plan Curiosity's journey to this next science destination.

This has been your Curiosity rover update. Please check back for future reports.