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Operations of the Sample Analysis at Mars instrument suite onboard the Curiosity rover

Abstract

The Sample Analysis at Mars instrument suite, onboard the Curiosity rover, has been analyzing the martian environment since August 05th 2012, as one of the main tools of the Mars Science Laboratory mission. This suite is composed of three independent but interoperable instruments, namely a Quadrupole Mass Spectrometer, a Tunable Laser Spectrometer and a Gas Chromatograph, plus a sophisticated Sample Manipulation System. SAM is used to analyze soils, rocks and atmosphere. For instance, it detected in situ martian complex organics for the first time, provide us with a several years survey of the atmospheric composition and helped understand how the martian environment evolved through the planet history. At 40 kg, it represents half of the scientific payload weight of Curiosity and is one of the two analytical instruments of the mission. This instrument suite is the result of an international collaboration between the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory and a consortium of French laboratories supported by the Center National d’Études Spatiales (the French space agency). This contribution will present the organization of the SAM operational workflow from the ground infrastructure, to flight operations and laboratory supporting work. It will also describe how the CNES hosts and supports the SAM team during this exciting mission.
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Dates and versions

insu-01809988 , version 1 (07-06-2018)

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Jean-Yves Bonnet, Cyril Szopa, David Coscia, Caroline Freissinet, Michel Cabane, et al.. Operations of the Sample Analysis at Mars instrument suite onboard the Curiosity rover. 2018 SpaceOps Conference, 15th International Conference on Space Operations, May 2018, Marseille, France. ⟨10.2514/6.2018-2372⟩. ⟨insu-01809988⟩
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