rediff.com

NewsApp (Free)

Read news as it happens
Download NewsApp

Available on  

Rediff News  All News 
Rediff.com  » News » In PHOTOS: NASA's Curiosity rover 'sniffs' Martian air

In PHOTOS: NASA's Curiosity rover 'sniffs' Martian air

Last updated on: September 7, 2012 13:03 IST

In PHOTOS: NASA's Curiosity rover 'sniffs' Martian air

     Next

Next

NASA's Mars rover Curiosity has sucked Martian air into its big Sample Analysis at Mars instrument to reveal the concentration of different gases.

This is the first time that the chemistry of the atmosphere has been tested from the surface of the planet since the Viking landers in the 1970s.

Click NEXT to read further...


Image: Curiosity drives onto the surface of Mars to test the chemistry of the atmosphere
Photographs: Courtesy: NASA
Tags: NASA , PHOTOS

     Next

NASA's Curiosity rover 'sniffs' Martian air

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

The Sam analysis will reveal whether Curiosity has detected a signal for methane.

The gas has recently been observed by satellite and by Earth telescopes, and its presence on the Red Planet is intriguing.


Image: The left eye of the Mast Camera on NASA's Mars rover Curiosity took this image of the camera on the rover's arm
Photographs: Courtesy: NASA
Tags: NASA , Earth

Prev     Next

NASA's Curiosity rover 'sniffs' Martian air

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Methane should be short-lived and its persistence suggests a replenishing source of some kind - either biological or geochemical.

It is hoped Sam can shed light on the issue.


Image: The gravelly area on Mars
Photographs: Courtesy: NASA
Tags: NASA , Sam

Prev     Next

NASA's Curiosity rover 'sniffs' Martian air

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

According to Curiosity deputy principal scientist Joy Crisp, the results from this first test could be announced next week.

But she cautioned that it would be some time before definitive statements could be made about the status of methane on Mars.


Image: A chapter of the layered geological history of Mars is laid bare in this postcard from NASA's Curiosity rover
Photographs: Courtesy: NASA
Tags: NASA , Joy Crisp

Prev     Next

NASA's Curiosity rover 'sniffs' Martian air

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

"When Sam is at its best it can measure various parts per trillion of methane, and the expected amounts based on measurements taken from orbit around Mars and from Earth telescopes should be in the 10 to a few 10s of parts per billion," the BBC quoted her as telling to reporters.


Image: This image taken by a front Hazard-Avoidance camera on NASA's Curiosity shows track marks from the rover's drives
Photographs: Courtesy: NASA
Tags: NASA , BBC , Sam , Earth

Prev     Next

NASA's Curiosity rover 'sniffs' Martian air

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

"But it's so early in the use of Sam, which is a complicated instrument, and we have to sort through the data," she added.

Curiosity -- also known as the Mars Science Laboratory, MSL -- has now driven more than 100m from the location on the floor of Gale Crater where it landed a month ago.


Image: This scene shows the surroundings of the location where NASA Mars rover Curiosity arrived on Sept 4
Photographs: Courtesy: NASA

Prev     Next

TOP photo features of the week

Prev     More

Click on MORE to see another set of PHOTO features...



Tags: PHOTO , MORE , TOP

Prev     More
Source: ANI