Welcome to the internet home of the Maryland Section of the American Chemical Society (MD ACS). One of 190 local sections, we are based in Baltimore, Maryland. We work to promote awareness and interest in a wide variety of chemistry subjects through monthly dinner meetings, community outreach, and working with students in chemistry and science.
Exploring Ancient and Modern Mars with the Curiosity Rover:
Early Results from the SAM Investigation at Gale Crater
~ Dr. Paul Mahaffy ~
Goddard Space Flight Center
December 11, 6-9 pm
Knott Science Center, Room 311
Notre Dame of Maryland University
4701 North Charles Street, Baltimore, MD 21212
From the north:
• Take the Baltimore Beltway (I-695) to North Charles Street (exit 25).
• Drive 4.6 miles south on Charles Street
• The University entrance is on the left, immediately past Homeland Avenue but before Cold Spring Lane.
From the Inner Harbor
• Take I-83 north 4.4 miles to Cold Spring Lane East (exit 9A).
• Drive 1.3 miles on W. Cold Spring Lane
• Turn left onto North Charles Street. The University entrance is 0.4 miles on the right.
Please click here for a campus map and parking.
|6:00-6:40 pm|| Registration / Networking and Hors d'Oeurves|
| 7:45-8:45 pm|| Further Refreshments|
A prime goal of the Mars Science Laboratory Mission is to explore the habitability of ancient Mars. The Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument suite of instruments on the Curiosity Rover contributes to this study with (1) a search for organic compounds in ancient rocks and soils, (2) measurements of the composition of inorganic volatiles compounds in the atmosphere or extracted from solid materials, and (3) a determination of the isotopic composition of several of these volatiles. The Yellowknife Bay region near the landing site revealed sedimentary layers and clay minerals and the several months spend in exploration of this site have already realized primary mission goals. A prime exploration target for this rover is still the central mound (Mt. Sharp) in Gale crater that shows a diverse mineralogy form orbital infrared spectroscopy and the Curiosity Rover is now making steady progress toward that target.
Early results from SAM will be discussed. These include: new volume mixing ratios for the 5 major atmospheric constituents showing Ar approximately equal to N2; a new upper limit for the volume mixing ratio of methane; C and O isotope ratios both showing heavier than terrestrial averages; D/H in water more than 5 times terrestrial; and the 40Ar/36Ar and 36Ar/38Ar ratios in good agreement with gases trapped in glasses of EETA79001 Mars meteorite values. Major evolved gases from fines scooped from an eolian drift that are likely characteristic of average martian dust are H2O, CO2, O2, SO2, H2S, and HCl. Chlorine containing compounds in this material were tentatively identified as perchlorates. Gases evolved from the first drilled samples revealed the presence of clays and the presence of both oxidized and reduced volatiles.