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Friday, October 19 • 9:30am - 9:50am
Exploration of Mars with the Curiosity rover

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NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory mission, featuring the Curiosity rover, has been exploring a part of Gale Crater on Mars for the past six years.  This amazing mobile laboratory, with innovative chemical instruments like the Canadian alpha particle X-ray spectrometer (APXS) and the laser-firing ChemCam instrument suite, has been characterising the rocks, soils and atmosphere to try to piece together the past geologic and climate history of Early Mars.  Curiosity’s primary objective if to search for, and characterise, habitable environments – places where the conditions necessary for life could have existed sometime in the distant past, or even today.  Curiosity has already found evidence for extensive ancient lakes that could have supported life as we know it, diverse and complex organic molecules in ancient rocks, and seasonal cycles of atmospheric gases even today.  The Mars 2020 rover, NASA’s next rover, will go a step further and seek out biosignatures – or indicators of possible life in ancient rocks.  It will even collect samples that will be brought back to Earth at a later date for more detailed study and to possibly answer the question “Are we alone?”.  This presentation will summarise how we explore Mars with a rover, some of the key findings from Curiosity and may use lessons learned to better prepare for future robotic and human missions to Mars.

avatar for Dr. Richard Léveillé

Dr. Richard Léveillé

Adjunct professor, Earth and Planetary Sciences, McGill University | McGill Space Institute
Planetary scientist and geology professor at McGill University and John Abbott College. Mars Science Laboratory Participating Scientist. Founding member and co-lead of the Canadian Astrobiology Network. Former Canadian Space Agency research scientist. Searching for life on Mars and... Read More →

Friday October 19, 2018 9:30am - 9:50am EDT
Room CD Concordia Conference Center, MB Building 9th floor, 1450 Guy St, Montreal, QC H3H 0A1