The SAM Suite
The Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument, largest of the 10 science instruments for NASA's Mars Science Laboratory mission, examines samples of Martian rocks, soil and atmosphere for information about chemicals that are important to life and other chemical indicators about past and present environments.
SAM is in fact a suite of three different instruments supported by a complex set of components to process gases and solids. The instruments are: Quadrupole Mass Spectrometer (QMS), Tunable Laser Spectrometer (TLS), and Gas Chromatograph (GC).
Other components include: a sample manipulation system (SMS) with 74 cups; two solid sample inlet tubes (SSIT); two turbomolecular wide-range pumps (WRP); two ovens to release gas to SAM's instruments; 14 gas processing manifolds; two high conductance valves; 52 micro-valves; 51 gas line heaters; combustion and calibration gases; two scrubbers and two getters; four hydrocarbon traps; two helium tanks; four reflux heat pipes; an electronics stack consisting of eight separate modules; about 20 feet (600 meters) of harness wire; two gas inlets; and two vents to Curiosity's exterior.
The SAM instrument was developed at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md., with instrument contributions from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., and the University of Paris, France, collaborators.
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech