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SAM bakes to celebrate 8 years on Mars – NASA’s Mars Exploration Program

Mount Sharp on Mars

A dramatic view of Mars’ Mount Sharp: Mast Camera, or Mastcam, on NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover used its telephoto lens to capture Mount Sharp in the morning light on October 13, 2019, the 2555th Martian day, or sun, of the mission. Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech / MSSS. Download image ›

Today, Curiosity will release part of its newly acquired “Mary Anning” drilling sample to SAM for Evolution Gas Analysis (EGA). During EGA, SAM bakes the powdered rock sample of up to 900° C (1

652° F). This releases, or “develops”, volatile compounds which are then measured. In addition, Navcam will image the area in front of the rover and look for dust devils, Mastcam will take two stereo mosaics of the surrounding landscape, and DAN, REMS and RAD will continue to monitor the environment at this location.

Tonight, around 22.00, Curiosity will celebrate 8 (!) Years on Mars. As Curiosity turns 8, we expect the Gale Crater celebration to include games like “Pin the Mast on the Rover” and “Red Rover” (“Red rover, red rover, send Perseverance on over!”) While we enjoy sweets from SAM’s bakery!

Back on Earth, the MSL team also celebrates with a retrospective in the form of 8 Martian postcards including the mosaic at the top of this post, a dust storm selfie, a descriptive tour of Gale Crater, a Martian cloud movie and much more! You can see this cool selection of photos from the last eight years here: mars.nasa.gov/news/8726/.

Thank you for following Curiosity’s journey over the past eight years. We look forward to a ninth year and more of exciting exploration and discovery!

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