Join the Aerospace Division of the American Society of Civil Engineers for a wondrous, not-to-be-missed evening of tantalizing food and stimulating conversation with colleagues as you congratulate the winners of several Aerospace Division awards. In addition to good food and company, you'll learn about the Mars Science Laboratory Rover Mission.
Registration Fee: (included with Full registrations and Monday Daily registrations); Additional tickets: $70.
Guest Speaker: Ashwin Vasavada, Ph.D.,
Deputy Project Scientist on the Mars Science Laboratory,
NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA
Dr. Ashwin Vasavada is a planetary scientist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. He is presently the Deputy Project Scientist on the Mars Science Laboratory. A Mars rover is set to arrive on Mars in August 2012, and Dr. Vasavada helps lead the international team of scientists on that mission. His research interests include the climate history of Mars, the weather on Jupiter and Saturn, and the possibility of ice at the poles of the Moon and Mercury. He has participated in the operation and analysis of data from several NASA spacecraft missions, including the Galileo mission to Jupiter and the Cassini mission to Saturn. He holds a B.S. in Geophysics from UCLA and a Ph.D. in Planetary Science from Caltech.
The Mars Science Laboratory mission will deliver the Curiosity rover to the surface of Mars in August 2012 to understand whether its Gale Crater field site ever was capable of supporting microbial life. The primary scientific target for Curiosity is the 3-mile high mound of layered rock in the crater's center. Differences between the layers indicate that the sediments have witnessed major changes in Mars' environmental conditions.
The Curiosity rover is designed to be a robotic field geologist, as previous rovers, and a mobile geochemical laboratory. It has the most capable scientific payload ever sent to the surface of another planet, including cameras, spectrometers, radiation and weather sensors, and an onboard laboratory for analyzing samples of Martian rock, soil, and air.
To enable the rock studies, Curiosity has a 6-foot robotic arm, jackhammer drill, a scoop, sieves, and portioning tools. The rover will explore the region near Gale Crater for at least two Earth years, analyzing dozens of samples of Martian rock and soil.