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Night with a nerd: Exploring Mars with Curiosity

Join us Thursday, June 21, at 6 p.m. in Los Alamos at projectY.
June 1, 2018
Curiosity rover

While still on Earth in June 2011, the Curiosity rover was undergoing mobility testing. It arrived on the surface of Mars in August 2012, and since then has sent more than 400,000 images back home. The 2020 mission is in the works. Image courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech.

Save June 21 for this exciting event.

The Mars Curiosity rover has been exploring the Red Planet since it landed in 2012. First finding evidence of long-lasting lakes and rivers, it has since learned more about organic materials as well as the transition from a warmer and wetter climate to one that is now cold and dry. The primary role of the ChemCam laser instrument on the rover has been to analyze the chemical composition of the rocks and soil on the surface.

This “Night with a nerd” event will cover the Lab’s involvement with NASA’s upcoming 2020 Mars rover mission including the SuperCam and SHERLOC (short for Scanning Habitable Environments with Raman & Luminescence for Organics & Chemicals) instruments. The latest rover will collect samples slated for a future return to Earth, demonstrate the generation of oxygen for potential future astronauts, and even deploy a drone.

The speaker, Roger Wiens, is the leader for the current ChemCam and future SuperCam laser instruments. A Fellow of Los Alamos National Laboratory, he has been knighted by the French government for forging scientific ties and “inspiring many young, ambitious Earthlings.”

He is author of the book, Red Rover: Inside the Story of Robotic Space Exploration. Booklist’s Carl Hays called it “A remarkable memoir and testament to the ingenuity of the space program’s many scientists who build the tools needed to explore our solar system.”

Networking and refreshments will follow Roger’s presentation.

This event is hosted by the Bradbury Science Museum Association (BSMA) at projectY in Los Alamos. The registration is limited to 50 people. The event is free to BSMA members and $10 for non-members. If you like, you can join the BSMA on the night of the event.