This summer marked the one year anniversary of the landing of the Mars Curiosity Rover as part of the mission led by 2013 HWS Honorary Degree recipient and alum John Grotzinger ’79, S.D.’13. Covering the anniversary, CNN noted some of the mission’s accomplishments over the course of the past year. Second on the list is the fact that life could have existed on Mars.
The article refers to this as “the major science highlight of Curiosity’s inaugural Martian year.”
Grotzinger is quoted: “We now know Mars offered favorable conditions for microbial life billions of years ago.”
The article notes year two will focus primarily on a five-mile drive to Mount Sharp.
“So far, Curiosity has stopped a lot to test out its instruments, collecting and analyzing samples and exploring particular areas. Now, it will drive as far as it can every day — but not at Earthly highway speeds.”
Curiosity isn’t expected to reach its destination until next summer.
The article continues, “During the drive, the rover will continue snapping photos, and the meteorological instruments will still take measurements. Curiosity will stop if it spots anything — a structure or formation, or the improbable Martian — that looks interesting to scientists.
Grotzinger is the mission leader and project scientist in charge of the Mars Science Laboratory. He is the Fletcher Jones Professor of Geology at the California Institute of Technology and an eminent sedimentologist and stratigrapher with wide-ranging interests in sedimentary processes, geobiology, and Earth’s early history. He previously served as the Shrock Professor of Earth Sciences and Director of the Earth Resources Laboratory at M.I.T.
He has been elected into the National Academy of Sciences, one of the highest honors that can be accorded a U.S. scientist. He has also been awarded the National Science Foundation Young Investigator Award, the Fred Donath Medal from the Geological Society of America, the Henno Martin Medal from the Geological Society of Namibia, and the Charles Doolittle Walcott Medal by the National Academy of Sciences.
At Hobart, Grotzinger earned a B.S. in geoscience and was a member of the lacrosse team. He earned an M.S. from the University of Montana and a Ph.D. from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. He returned to the Colleges as a Druid lecturer in 1996.
The multimedia story from CNN can be found online.