The collector head of NASA's Viking 1's surface sampler is full of Martian soil destined for the gas chromatograph mass spectrometer, the instrument which analyzes the surface material for the presence of organic molecules.

The collector head of Viking l's surface sampler is full of Martian soil destined for the gas chromatograph mass spectrometer, the instrument which analyzes the surface material for the presence of organic molecules. The material was scooped out of the surface on August 3, but the sampler arm stopped operating while transporting it to the instrument. The Martian soil will be deposited into the instrument's processor today. The surface sampler is operating properly, but the cause of last week's problem is not yet known. This picture, taken Monday (August 9), was made for operational purposes, focusing on the collector head. Hence, the out-of-focus view of the Martian surface.

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