WUSTL-led Moon mission is finalist for NASA’s next big space venture

Nearly 40 years after the Apollo astronauts first brought samples of the Moon to Earth for study, researchers from Washington University in St. Louis are leading an effort to return to the Moon for samples that could unlock secrets of the early Solar System. Known as MoonRise, the proposed Moon mission is one of three finalists now bidding to become NASA’s next big space science venture, a $650 million mission that would launch before 2019.

Washington University faculty, students key to Phoenix Mars Mission

Image courtesy of NASAThe Phoenix Mars Lander on the northern Mars plains, searching for evidence of ice and water.Among the many Phoenix Mars Mission workers are Raymond E. Arvidson, Ph.D., the WUSTL chair of earth and planetary sciences, a computer specialist and four WUSTL students. Their goal is to infer from images and other data the geological history of the landing site and to imply some theories about current and past climate on Mars. Will they find ice?

Undergraduate paves way for NASA Mars mission

Tabatha Heet, a junior earth and planetary sciences major and Pathfinder student, shows Ray Arvidson, earth and planetary sciences department chair, a potential landing site for the Phoenix mission to Mars.Earth and planetary scientists at Washington University in St. Louis are paving the way for a smooth landing on Mars for the Phoenix Mission scheduled to launch in August this year by making sure the set-down literally is not a rocky one. A team led by Raymond E. Arvidson, Ph.D., James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor in Arts & Sciences, has been analyzing images taken from a NASA instrument to make sure that the Phoenix spacecraft lands in a spot on the Red planet’s northern plains that is relatively rock-free. Video included.