NASA will be hosting a live discussion on the new findings by its Mars Curiosity rover on Thursday, June 7. The space agency says that it will be sharing new science results from the rover’s time on Mars.
Four experts will be at the live discussion and it will be live streamed by NASA.
NASA Livestreams Curiosity Findings
NASA’s decision to live stream Curiosity’s findings is due to the results of the study being embargoed by the journal Science until June 7. The live stream will be hosted by Michelle Thaller, Assistant Director of Science for Communications at NASA’s Planetary Science Division.
Four experts at the discussion will include Paul Mahaffy, Jen Eigenbrode, Chris Webster, and Ashwin Vasavada project scientists from Mars Science Laboratory. They may shed some light on what the new results may be.
Mahaffy specializes in planetary science focusing on the makeup of the planetary atmosphere. Eigenbrode specializes in the use of gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GCMS) in the analysis of lipids and other hydrocarbons in rocks, ice, and biological samples. Webster researches Mars chemistry and habitability. Vasavada specializes in geologic studies of Mars focusing on surface properties, volatiles, and climate history.
Curiosity was launched from Earth in November 2011 and landed on in the Aeolis Palus in Gale Crater on Mars in August 2012. Originally it was supposed to operate for two years but its mission was extended indefinitely in December 2012. Curiosity has been on Mars for 2,126 total days or 2,070 sols, solar days on Mars.
Past Curiosity Findings
Curiosity has been on Mars for a long time, even though NASA plans to hold a live discussion for its latest findings, it has contributed a lot to the understanding of Mars. One of the biggest discoveries was that Mars could have once hosted life on its surface. Curiosity drilled into a rock and found that it contained sulfur, nitrogen, hydrogen, oxygen, phosphorus, and carbon, all of which are key ingredients for hosting life.
The Curiosity rover also found evidence of bodies of water on Mars. It found rocks that are believed to have been smoothed and rounded by water flows. It found that there were layers of exposed bedrock that showed that there was once a stream of flowing water at the site.
Curiosity also contributed to future manned space flights by measuring the levels of radiation on Mars. It found that it had radiation levels that exceeded the career limit NASA establishes for astronauts. This will help NASA determine adequate protection for astronauts in space suits and ships when it finally sends a person to Mars.
Mars Curiosity found that there were fluctuations of methane in the Martian atmosphere. There still hasn’t been evidence found of what is responsible for producing the methane on Mars. On Earth microbes produce methane. There is also the possibility that the methane may have been trapped underground at one point.