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Mars explorer on campus Friday (video)

January 30, 2013 at 9:11 pm

013113 Terrarium sandwich 

Geology professor Dr. John Grotzinger, lead scientist for the Mars Curiosity expedition, will be in Beloit Friday to discuss his research and discoveries on the red planet and receive the Roy Chapman Andrews Society’s Distinguished Explorer Award. Grotzinger will receive the award and talk about his work Friday (Feb. 1) at 4:30 p.m. in Eaton Chapel. The event is free, and open to all.

After a long journey and a complex and nerve-wracking landing, the SUV-size Curiosity is exploring Mars and making new discoveries every day. It is now scooping up dirt samples, using X-rays and lasers to identify the minerals in Martian soil. It is also starting to analyze the Martian air and will soon start drilling into rocks as it drives to a mountain that is almost three-and-a-half miles high.

The one-ton Curiosity has been described as “a six-wheeled geochemistry lab and the most sophisticated machine ever sent to another planet.”

Updates on Curiosity are posted on the Mars Science Laboratory website and on Curiosity’s Twitter feed, @MarsCuriosity. You can also see a video about Curiosity, including interviews with Grotzinger, here. You can also find radio interviews with Grotzinger on Wisconsin Public Radio and WCLO here.

While on campus, Grotzinger will also visit Carl Mendelson’s Planetary Geology class, and earlier on Friday he’ll stop by Beloit Memorial High School.

Click here to read more about the Roy Chapman Andrews Society.