Mars Rover Curiosity hasn’t found the building blocks of life on Mars. Yet at least. No big announcements so far, but while the much anticipated historic discovery is still to be made, the mission is on-going and we have asked Paolo Bellutta, one of the drivers of the Mars Rover to tells us what has happened so far and what we should expect in the coming future…
Before we ask Paolo some questions let’s start saying something about the announcement of the discovery that has yet to come. This is one of those discoveries that will go down on history books. We are all waiting for the moment NASA will announce that they found the building blocks of life on Mars. We thought that this moment would have been this week, but what happened is that they only told us we’ll have to wait!
Last week the principal investigator for the mission John Grotzinger had somehow hinted that something would had been found and since then everyone had waited for the announcement to come on the next mission update on 3 December to be held at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco.
Scientists responsible for some of the instruments on board of Curiosity and Grotzinger presented some of the data collected with the first set of experiment performed by the rover on Mar.
Paul Mahaffy, principal investigator for the chemistry instrument SAM (Sample Analysis at Mars) presented result from a rich dataset “It’s the first time that this type of experiments are carried out on Mars” said Mahaffy, who presented some highlights of the SAM data “the volatiles, the gasses released from the samples.”
Before he started his presentation Mahaffy said “Let me start off by saying SAM has no definitive detection to report of organic compounds with this first set of experiments.” Here is what SAM found so far on Mars.
The Sample Analysis at Mars instrument suite is made up of three instruments: a mass spectrometer, a gas chromatograph, and a tunable laser spectrometer It’s the biggest of the instruments on board of the Mars Science Laboratory rover taking up more than half the science payload!
Let’s turn to our personal mission update and we'll find out what is going on on Mars from Paolo Bellluta.