MISSION UPDATES | August 5, 2020

Sols 2844-2845: SAM is Baking to Celebrate 8 Years on Mars

Written by Sean Czarnecki, Planetary Geologist at Arizona State University
Mount Sharp on Mars

A Dramatic View of Mars' Mount Sharp​: The Mast Camera, or Mastcam, on NASA's Curiosity Mars rover used its telephoto lens to capture Mount Sharp in the morning illumination on Oct. 13, 2019, the 2,555th Martian day, or sol, of the mission. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS. Download image ›

Today Curiosity will drop off some of its newly acquired "Mary Anning" drill sample to SAM for Evolved Gas Analysis (EGA). During EGA, SAM bakes the powdered rock sample at up to 900°C (1652°F). This releases, or "evolves," 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 countryside, and DAN, REMS, and RAD will continue to monitor the environment at this site.

Tonight, around 10 PM PDT, Curiosity will celebrate 8(!) years on Mars. Since Curiosity is turning 8, we expect that celebrations in Gale Crater will include games like "Pin the Mast on the Rover" and "Red Rover" ("Red rover, red rover, send Perseverance on over!") while enjoying treats from SAM's bakery!

Back on Earth, the MSL team is also celebrating 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 images from the past 8 years here: mars.nasa.gov/news/8726/.

Thank you for following Curiosity's journey for the last 8 years. We look forward to a ninth year and more of exciting exploration and discovery!