Center for Meteorite Studies

Since 2004, NASA's Mars Exploration Rover (MER) robotic geologists have been making important discoveries on Mars with the rovers Spirit (now unresponsive) and Opportunity. 
 
In 2012, the next generation rover, the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL, aka Curiosity) joined them on the martian surface to investigate the possibility of life on Mars. Beyond looking for evidence of water, Curiosity will assess the habitability of one area of the Martian surface; habitability is the potential of a Martian environment to support life, whether past or present, and the geology, chemistry, mineralogy and environmental conditions of a site all influence its habitability.
 
Curiosity, which is roughly the size of a small car and thus significantly larger than Spirit or Opportunity (see image below), carries a sophisticated suite of instruments that will work together to investigate all the factors that influence habitability.
 
rover-comparison
 
As a Co-Investigator on the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) suite of instruments, Meenakshi Wadhwa is one of the scientists guiding Curiosity to interesting targets and interpreting data from the mission.
 
SAM is aimed at finding and analyzing elements important to life such as carbon, oxygen, nitrogen and hydrogen and any organic compounds that contain these elements. SAM’s gas chromatograph separate any mixture of organic compounds Curiosity finds into individual components for identification, while the SAM mass spectrometer and tunable laser spectrometer measure the molecular and isotopic composition of rock and atmospheric samples.
 
You can learn more about the MSL mission and stay up-to-date on mission developments here


Comments are closed.

Sign Up for Center Updates!

Be the first to learn about CMS events and news; sign up for email updates here!


Facebook
Twitter
YouTube


Upcoming Events

September 2016
Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
August 28, 2016 August 29, 2016 August 30, 2016 August 31, 2016 September 1, 2016 September 2, 2016 September 3, 2016
September 4, 2016 September 5, 2016 September 6, 2016 September 7, 2016 September 8, 2016 September 9, 2016 September 10, 2016
September 11, 2016 September 12, 2016 September 13, 2016 September 14, 2016 September 15, 2016 September 16, 2016 September 17, 2016
September 18, 2016 September 19, 2016 September 20, 2016 September 21, 2016 September 22, 2016 September 23, 2016

Earth & Space Open House

September 24, 2016
September 25, 2016 September 26, 2016 September 27, 2016 September 28, 2016 September 29, 2016 September 30, 2016 October 1, 2016

Frequently Asked Questions

Click here to find the answers to the most common questions asked of the Center for Meteorite Studies!


Graduate Student Spotlight - Prajkta Mane

Prajkta Mane received her B.Sc. in Geology from the University of Mumbai (St. Xavier’s College) in 2008, followed by her M.Sc. in Applied Geology from the Indian Institute of Technology …


Meteorite of the Month

Carancas

September's meteorite of the month is Carancas, an (H4-5) ordinary chondrite that fell in Peru, the afternoon of September 15, 2007. To date, over 340g of material have been recovered. …


CMS News

Catch up on all the latest news from the Center for Meteorite Studies!