Caltech geologist John Grotzinger, who was recently named chair of the Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences, has stepped down as project scientist for NASA’s Mars Rover Curiosity. He is succeeded by Ashwin Vasavada (PhD '98) of JPL.
The Jet Propulsion Laboratory has won NASA's 2011 Software of the Year accolade for software it developed that has enabled the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity to autonomously select interesting science targets to study with its cameras.
The landing site for Curiosity, the next Mars rover, has been narrowed down to two choices. Curiosity will either explore Eberswalde crater, an ancient river delta, or Gale crater, the home of a three-mile high mountain.