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  • This artist concept features NASA's Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover, a mobile robot for investigating Mars' past or present ability to sustain microbial life.
    Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
Wednesday, February 20, 2013
8:00 pm
Beckman Auditorium

Exploring Mars, the Moon, Asteroids, and Comets with Rovers and Landers

Professor Jim Bell, Arizona State University

The exploration of our solar system over the past half century has been dominated by robotic flyby and orbital missions. Recently, however, NASA and other space agencies have been transitioning into an era of even deeper exploration, using robotic rovers and landers sent down to the surfaces of many of these worlds. Among the most successful and popular of these have been the recent Mars rover and lander missions—Mars Pathfinder, Spirit, Opportunity, Phoenix, and now Curiosity. Plans are also in the works for new Mars landers and rovers, as well as new landers and rovers to explore in more detail the surfaces of the Moon as well as of small primitive bodies like asteroids and comets.

In this talk Professor Bell will review some of the recent highlights from Mars surface missions (especially the continuing adventures of the Opportunity and Curiosity rovers), discuss the kinds of up-close contact science measurements that can be done from such robotic vehicles, and talk about how the lessons learned from these missions can influence future Mars, asteroid, and comet rovers and landers.

Seating is limited for this free public event, and is available on a first come, first served basis. No tickets or reservations are required.

Cosponsor: The Planetary Society

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