Today's MSL Press Conference was held at a new venue, the AGU 2012 Fall Conference in San Francisco. It was a recap of Curiosity's progress on Mars to date and revealed a little more about recent SAM, Sample Analysis at Mars, results. Curiosity will stay in the Glenelg area for about another month and then she will start heading towards Mt Sharp and get started on the main science mission. One task remaining in her engineering checkout is the drill test which will be done a new location, Yellow Knife Bay. The major SAM result is the high ratio of deuterium to hydrogen, D/H, found in the evolved gases from the fifth Rocknest scoop and some simple chlorinated methane molecules. A high D/H ratio can be attributed to a loss of hydrogen in the Martian atmosphere over time either into space or through some surface process. The main gases detected by the SAM instrument are H20, CO2, O2 and SO2.
Supplemental (Dec 5): related press release with the AGU 2012 MSL press conference images.