Professor of Geobiology Roger Summons talks to Astrobiology Magazine about his work with SAM, NASA's Sample Analysis at Mars Prioject.
The Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover has 10 science instruments, and each will be used in the coming weeks and months to help characterize the environment of Mars and determine if the planet ever had the potential for life. The Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument combines three individual instruments that will investigate the chemistry of the Martian surface. Roughly the size of a microwave oven, SAM will analyze samples taken by the robotic arm, looking for organic and inorganic compounds.
PAOC's Roger Summons is working with SAM to study potential organic material within the rocks of Mars.