MSUM Physics/Astronomy Seminar Series Presents:
Curiosity Mission and the Martian Atmosphere
by Heidi Manning from the Department of Physics at Concordia College
Friday, October 12, 2012
Hagen Hall 325
On August 6, 2012, the Curiosity Rover safely landed on the surface of Mars and began its two-year, primary mission. With its 17 cameras and 10 scientific instruments, Curiosity will explore and quantitatively assess a region of Mars’ surface as a potential habitat for life, past or present. One of the instruments on Curiosity is the Sample Analysis on Mars (SAM) instrument suite. This analytical chemistry suite will measure the chemical composition of rocks samples and the atmosphere. It will determine isotopic ratios of key elements and look for complex hydrocarbons such as amino acids. These measurements will help to address the overarching scientific goal of the mission, which is to learn if Mars was once habitable.