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Planetary scientist to discuss Curiosity rover’s visit to Mars

Agnes Cousin-Pilleri will discuss the trailblazing discoveries made by the ChemCam instrument on the Curiosity rover on Mars on May 28.
May 23, 2014
Curiosity zaps Mars for vital signs: ChemCam, designed by Lab team, looks for elements such as carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen, all of which are crucial for life.

Curiosity zaps Mars for vital signs: ChemCam, designed by Lab team, looks for elements such as carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen, all of which are crucial for life.

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“ChemCam is providing one of the largest and most powerful datasets in Martian exploration,” Cousin-Pilleri said. “In its first year on Mars, Curiosity and ChemCam have made many ground-breaking discoveries.”

May 28 lecture examines data collected from Gale Crater

LOS ALAMOS, N.M., May 23, 2014—Agnes Cousin-Pilleri, a post-doctoral researcher in Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Chemistry Division, will discuss the trailblazing discoveries made by the ChemCam instrument on the Curiosity rover on Mars from noon to 1 p.m. May 28 at the Bradbury Science Museum.

“ChemCam is providing one of the largest and most powerful datasets in Martian exploration,” Cousin-Pilleri said. “In its first year on Mars, Curiosity and ChemCam have made many ground-breaking discoveries.”

In the first 620 sols (Martian days) on the red planet, ChemCam has returned more than 130,000 chemical spectra corresponding to more than 400 targets with more than 2,300 images. In the talk, Cousin-Pilleri will present an overview of the ChemCam’s findings in the Gale Crater.

The ChemCam instrument onboard Curiosity is the first to retrieve the elemental composition of Mars and provides researchers with some of the most crucial data in Martian exploration. Observations from this dataset have led to discoveries such as Martian dust contains water, and that rocks near the landing site show more diverse volcanism than was previously thought possible on Mars.

This talk, like all talks at the Bradbury Science Museum, is free and open to the public; attendees are encouraged to bring a lunch to the talk.

About the speaker

Cousin-Pilleri holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in geology from the Institut géologique Albert-de-Lapparent at LaSalle Beauvais; a master’s degree in planetary science from Université Paris Sud; and a doctoral degree in astrophysics and planetology from Toulouse University.

She started as a post-doctoral student at the Laboratory in 2012. Her work focuses on data processing from the ChemCam instrument on the Curiosity rover on Mars.

About the Bradbury Science Museum

Mensa, an internationally recognized high-IQ society, named the Bradbury Science museum as one of the top 10 “Favorite Science Museums.”

All events at the Bradbury Science Museum are free and open to the public. Bradbury Science Museum is located at 1350 Central Ave., in downtown Los Alamos. Museum hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m., Sunday and Monday.

About Los Alamos National Laboratory

Los Alamos National Laboratory, a multidisciplinary research institution engaged in strategic science on behalf of national security, is operated by Los Alamos National Security, LLC, a team composed of Bechtel National, the University of California, The Babcock & Wilcox Company, and URS for the Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration.

Los Alamos enhances national security by ensuring the safety and reliability of the U.S. nuclear stockpile, developing technologies to reduce threats from weapons of mass destruction, and solving problems related to energy, environment, infrastructure, health, and global security concerns.


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