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Joint Heiland/ Space Resources/ USGS Geologic Hazards Center/ Van Tuyl Lecture: Kathryn Stack, NASA

October 13, 2022 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Kathryn Stack, NASA

Ben H Parker Student Center Grand Ballroom/ Zoom, 4PM, Thursday, October 13, 2022

Topic: Exploring the Sedimentary Rock Record of Mars with NASA’s Curiosity and Perseverance Rovers

Abstract: Since the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover arrived in Gale crater in August 2012, the Curiosity team has addressed questions of early Mars habitability through the exploration of a diverse sequence of sedimentary rocks. For most of the mission, Curiosity has been exploring its main exploration target—the lowermost strata of the 5 km-high mountain in the center of Gale crater, informally named Mount Sharp. During the trek upward through the basal units of Mount Sharp, the Curiosity team has observed the evolution of an ancient lake system, including evidence for cycles of wetting and drying, deposition by wind and rivers, and the pervasive interaction of water with sediments in the subsurface.

The Mars 2020 Perseverance rover, NASA’s newest flagship Mars rover mission, landed in Jezero crater in February 2021. Perseverance is seeking signs of ancient life on Mars, and is the first step of a multi-mission effort to return samples from Mars back to Earth. During the first year and half of Perseverance’s mission, the rover explored a sequence of altered, igneous rocks on the Jezero crater floor, successfully collecting a suite of igneous rock samples and 1 atmospheric sample. Since the spring of 2022, Perseverance has been exploring the ancient delta deposit within the crater and is in the midst of exploring and sampling sedimentary rocks with high biosignature preservation potential.

This talk will review highlights from Curiosity and Perseverance’s exploration of sedimentary basins on Mars, and will discuss implications for the habitability of ancient Mars and the Mars sample return effort.

This lecture is scheduled in a hybrid format. If you would like to join the meeting please:

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