Curiosity is literally and figuratively zooming in on stunningly mysterious Mount Sharp (see our new mosaics above/below), her primary destination, while conducting ‘Science on the Go’ with her duo of chemistry labs – SAM and CheMin – and other science instruments as she passes the 2 kilometer driving milestone today; Aug 20 !
“We are holding samples for drops to ChemMin and SAM when the science team is ready for it,” Jim Erickson, Curiosity Project Manager of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), told Universe Today in an exclusive interview.
“Curiosity has landed in an ancient river or lake bed on Mars,” Jim Green, Director of NASA’s Planetary Science Division, told Universe Today.
So, those samples were altered by liquid Martian water – a prerequisite for life.
In fact the car sized rover has saved samples from both the ‘John Klein’ and ‘Cumberland’ drill sites collected previously in the ‘Yellowknife Ba’ area for analysis by the miniaturized labs in the rovers belly -when the time is right.
“Curiosity has stored a Cumberland sample and still has a John Klein sample on board for future use,” Erickson explained.
And that time has now arrived!
“We have put a sample from the Cumberland drill hole into SAM for more isotopic measurements,” reported science team member John Bridges in a blog update on Sol 363, Aug. 14, 2013.
“The sample had been cached within the robotic arm’s turret.”
Curiosity is multitasking – conducting increasingly frequent traverses across the relatively smooth floor of Gale Crater while running research experiments for her science handlers back here on Earth.