Rensselaer Alumni Magazine - Winter 2013/2014 - (Page 6)
Mars Rover Finds
Water on Planet Surface
with answering the question "Could Mars
have once harbored life?" To do that, Curiosity
is the first rover on Mars to carry equipment for
gathering and processing samples of rock and
soil. One of those instruments was employed
in the current research: Sample Analysis at
Mars includes a gas chromatograph, a mass
spectrometer, and a tunable laser spectrometer
enabling it to identify a wide range of chemical
compounds and determine the ratios of different isotopes of key elements.
These results have implications for future
Mars explorers. "We now know there should
be abundant, easily accessible water on Mars,"
says Leshin. "When we send people, they
could scoop up the soil anywhere on the
surface, heat it just a bit, and obtain water."
JOSEPH MICHALSKI/NASA/JPL-CALTECH/UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA
A view of layered rocks on the
floor of McLaughlin Crater
shows sedimentary rocks that
contain spectroscopic evidence
for minerals formed through
interaction with water. A combination of clues suggests the
1.4-mile-deep crater once held
a lake fed by groundwater.
THE FIRST SCOOP OF SOIL EXAMINED BY THE ANALYTIcal suite in the belly of NASA's Curiosity rover
reveals that fine materials on the surface of
the planet contain several percent water by
weight. The results were published in September in Science as one article in a five-paper
special section on the Curiosity mission.
Dean of Science Laurie Leshin is the study's
"One of the most exciting results from this
very first solid sample ingested by Curiosity
is the high percentage of water in the soil,"
says Leshin. "About 2 percent of the soil on the
surface of Mars is made up of water, which is
a great resource, and interesting scientifically."
Curiosity landed in Gale Crater on the
surface of Mars on August 6, 2012, charged
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rensselaer Alumni Magazine - Winter 2013/2014
Table of Contents
Snapshot: Rensselaer at Petascale
President's View: A Lesson From Microbes
Feature: The Rensselaer IDEA
Feature: Solving Problems
Feature:Hyerloop, Meet Tubeflight!
Feature: 2013 Alumni Hall of Fame
One Last Thing
Video Clip: Rensselaer at Petascale (AMOS)––Exerpts from President Jackson and CCI Director Chris Carothers remarks made at the Rensselaer at Petascale announcement event (3:21)
Slideshow: GE Girls@Rensselaer (0:54)
Video Clip: Data Forest––Director Jim Hendler discusses the "data forest" at the Rensselaer IDEA annoucement event (2:59)
Vimeo Link: EMPAC Research–– A New Paradigm for Interactive Exploration of Data with Live Coding (23:50)
YouTube Link: Alumni Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony (44:13)
Rensselaer Alumni Magazine - Winter 2013/2014