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Sample Analysis at Mars Instrument Suite

The Sample Analysis at Mars Instrument Suite (SAM) represents a major step forward in addressing the potential for life on the red planet. It searches for compounds of the element carbon (including methane) that are associated with life and explores ways in which they are generated and destroyed in the martian ecosphere.

Actually a suite of three instruments, including a mass spectrometer, gas chromatograph, and tunable laser spectrometer, Sample Analysis at Mars also looks for and measures the abundances of other light elements, such as hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen, associated with life.

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