Location! Location! Location! on Mars with the Curiosity Rover

ST&B & NASA Goddard Speakers Series begins its 7th Year on April 16, 2013 with Extraterrestrial Real Estate Assessment: Measuring Habitability on Mars with the Curiosity Rover with Dr. Pamela Conrad, astrobiologist and mineralogist, at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

[Update- For those of you who cannot attend, our Twitter account @librarycongress will live tweet Dr. Conrad’s April 16th talk at the Library from 11:30-12:30 EST using the hashtag #LCCuriosity.  If you have questions for Dr. Conrad we invite you to tweet them using #LCCuriosity.]

This self-portrait of NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity combines 66 exposures taken by the rover’s Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) during the 177th Martian day, or sol, of Curiosity’s work on Mars (Feb. 3, 2013). Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS.

Measuring the habitability potential of environments on Earth is not too difficult because life is everywhere, but to make this assessment on Mars with a robot is a challenge. NASA’s Curiosity rover is rising to this challenge, currently exploring and investigating Gale Crater.  An analysis of a rock sample collected by Curiosity shows that ancient Mars could have supported living microbes.  In this presentation, Dr. Pamela Conrad, Deputy Investigator for the Sample Analysis at Mars instrument suite on the Curiosity rover, will talk about what we’ve learned so far and plans for Curiosity to continue exploring this beautiful and intriguing location on Mars.

Pamela Conrad is an astrobiologist and mineralogist working at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD. Her research focus is on understanding planetary habitability and on the development of approaches to its measurement in environments on Earth and on other planets, especially Mars. She is deputy principal investigator and payload investigation scientist for the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) suite. SAM is part of the Mars Science Laboratory science payload presently exploring  Gale Crater (Mars) on board the Curiosity Rover.

Dr. Conrad will be contributing a guest post to this blog in the near future, so watch for that!  Introducing Dr. Conrad at the April 16th lecture will be astrobiologist David Grinspoon–the first Baruch S. Blumberg NASA/Library of Congress Chair in Astrobiology in the John W. Kluge Center.

Put this event on your calendar! The program will be held on April 16  from 11:30 am to 12:30 pm in Dining Room A of the Madison Building, Library of Congress.

For more information about the program call (202) 707-7450.

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