The Science from “Spirit” and “Opportunity”


Date Thursday May 12th 2005
Time 4:00-5:00pm
Venue George E. Pake Auditorium

PARC Forum

Dr. Haldemann will review the scientific results obtained to date from the Mars Exploration Rovers. He will begin by stating the science objective of the mission to identify the role of water in Mars’ past and then illustrates how the MER science team has addressed that objective at both landing sites. Discussions of the Gusev landing site summarize the functioning of both the remote sensing instruments and the arm-based instruments to illustrate and explain the science results obtained from soils and rocks. The role of rover mobility will be presented to explain the enormous added science return that is obtained from that capability, and the history of Spirit’s travels will be reviewed in order to present the current state of science investigations in the ‘Columbia Hills’. The Opportunity results will be presented that summarize the discovery of rocks that verify the past presence of liquid water on the surface of Mars as evidenced by rock composition and morphology at the landing site in Eagle Crater, across the Meridiani plains, inside Endurance Crater, and south into the “Etched Terrain.”


Dr. Haldemann is the Mars Exploration Rover Deputy Project Scientist. He was born in Bern, Switzerland, grew up in Toronto, Canada, and returned to Switzerland for college and to serve as a pilot in the Swiss Air Force. He completed a PhD in Planetary Science at Caltech in 1997, and part of his thesis work involved the radar characterization of candidate sites for Mars Pathfinder. His current research includes Mars surface physical properties and radar scattering, and their relationship to geomorphic processes. He was interviewed during the 2000 astronaut selection cycle.

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