“Curiosity” Lands on Mars

“Curiosity” Lands on Mars

On Sunday, August 5, NASA successfully landed “Curiosity” rover on the surface of Mars. Kip Hodges, director of ASU's School of Earth and Space Exploration, discussed the mission and ASU’s involvement in it, with Arizona Horizon host Ted Simmons.

"We have a deep breach into this mission, which involves hundreds of scientists," says Hodges. "Many of our faculty and students and alumni are involved with actually interpretting the data that comes back over the next couple of years."

Four ASU professors are involved with instruments on the mission. Professor Meenakshi Wadhwa is a co-investigator with the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument, essentially an analytical chemistry system. Amy McAdam, an alumnus, is also working on SAM. Professor Jack Farmer is a science team member for a different instrument, CheMin, designed to examine the chemical and mineralogical properties of rocks and soils. And professor Alberto Behar is an investigation scientist for the Russian Dynamic Albedo of Neutrons instrument. Professor Jim Bell is a member of the teams operating the rover’s cameras Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI), Mars Descent Imager (MARDI) and MastCam.

"Arizona is a pretty magnificent state in regards to its contributions to space exploration, both with what we do and what the University of Arizona does as well," says Hodges. "We're positioning ourselves now at ASU to be able to build more and more effective instruments for space exploration. We just finished some new laboratories in a new building on the campus of ASU that will allow us to do this in a much more profound way than we have in the past. There are only a handful of universities in the US that have the capacity to build space-ready hardware for NASA - ASU is one of them, given our new digs, and University of Arizona."

To watch the entire interview, visit: http://www.azpbs.org/arizonahorizon/detailvid.php?id=13984

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