Daily Archives November 18, 2013

Third Installment of the Star Talk Series: Exploring Mars with Rovers

November 18, 2013
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ASX will be holding our third Star Talk on November 21 at 8pm. The speaker is Dr. Ralf Gellert, Principle Investigator of the Canadian Alpha-Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) and Associate Professor in the Department of Physics at the University of Guelph. The talk will be given in McLennan Physical Labs (60 St George Street). The room is number 103 on the first floor. This is a FREE event and open for all ages.

Ralf Gellert writes, “Last Summer the newest Mars Rover Curiosity made a picture perfect landing in Gale Crater to investigate the habitability of Mars in the past and present.
But what does this mean in detail and how does the rover tackle this task? The talk will discuss the rover, its tools and science instruments, how they work
together, as well as how the rover is operated on a day to day basis for over a year so far.
I’m the Principle Investigator of the Canadian Alpha-Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS), an improved version of the APXS instruments on board the earlier
Mars rovers Spirit and Opportunity. Opportunity still operates to this very day over 9 years after landing. The APXS instruments analyze the chemical composition of soils
and rocks and contribute to the overall findings of all missions. APXS data allow to connect the different landing sites together to get a global view of how Mars
developed some 3-4 Billion years ago. All the missions show that water, one of the key ingredients needed for habitability, played a major role in Martian history.
The rovers found varying conditions, acidic and recently more neutral water that could shed light on the question, if life could have developed on Mars around the
same time it did on Earth.”

In case you missed it, here is a link to the audio from the Star Talk.

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