Landing in Gale Crater on Mars, the Curiosity rover has been exploring past conditions on Mars for six years now.
Join the Boise State Physics Department on Friday, July 6th at 8 p.m. in the Science and Education Building, room 112, for a presentation by Doug Archer of NASA’s Johnson Space Center.
Dr. Archer will discuss Curiosity’s recent discoveries, including the fact that Gale Crater was once a lake with all the ingredients necessary for life. Weather permitting, we’ll stargaze afterward.
Abstract: The Mars Science Laboratory rover Curiosity has been exploring Mars for almost 6 years now. Landing in the bottom of 5 km deep Gale Crater, Curiosity’s primary mission is to assess the habitability of past environments as well as characterizing present-day conditions. Curiosity uses a suite of instruments including multiple cameras, an X-ray spectrometer, an X-ray diffraction instrument, and a sophisticated gas chromatograph/mass spectrometer/tunable laser spectrometer that, together, have revealed that Gale Crater was the site of an ancient, long-lived martian lake, and had all the chemical ingredients necessary for life as we know it. This has been confirmed again with exciting recent results.
Bio: Doug Archer is a Mars research scientist who currently focuses on detecting and identifying volatile-bearing minerals through evolved gas analysis. These minerals provide a windows into past and present environmental conditions on Mars. Archer holds a B.S. in Physics from Brigham Young University in Provo, UT and a PhD in Planetary Science from the University of Arizona in Tucson, AZ. He is currently a member of the Mars Science Laboratory science team and a member of the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument team.