Paper No. 14
Presentation Time: 11:35 AM
COLLECTING AND PROCESSING ROCK AND SOIL SAMPLES ON MARS
The Mars Science Laboratory Mission (MSL), consists of a rover and a scientific payload designed to identify and assess the habitability, geological, and environmental histories of Gale crater. Unraveling the geologic history of the region and providing an assessment of present and past habitability requires an evaluation of the physical and chemical characteristics of the landing site; this includes providing an in-depth examination of the chemical and physical properties of Martian regolith and rocks. The MSL Sample Acquisition, Processing, and Handling (SA/SPaH) subsystem will be the first in-situ system designed to acquire interior rock and soil samples from Martian surface materials and then process these samples into fine particles that are distributed to two onboard analytical science instruments, SAM (Sample Analysis at Mars Instrument Suite) and CheMin (Chemistry and Mineralogy). The SA/SPaH subsystem is also responsible for the placement of the three contact instruments, Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS), Dust Removal Tool (DRT), and the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI), on rock and soil targets. In this presentation, we will show initial results from SA/SPaH.