Ray Arvidson offers updates on Mars rover missions

With all the fanfare about Mars rover Curiosity landing safely on the Red Planet on Aug. 6, it’s easy to forget that there’s already a rover on Mars — an older, smaller cousin set to accomplish a feat unprecedented in the history of Solar System exploration. WUSTL’s Raymond E. Arvidson is playing key roles in both Mars missions.

Sand-trapped Mars Rover makes big discovery, WUSTL researcher reports

NASA’s robotic rover Spirit, bogged down in the loose soil of a Red Planet crater for months, has helped make an important scientific discovery just by spinning its wheels. “We’ve found something supremely interesting in the disturbed soil,” says WUSTL’s Raymond Arvidson, deputy principal scientist on the mission. Sulfate minerals churned up by the rover’s wheels offer evidence that this area “could have once supported life,” he explains.

Mars as the Abode of Life?

Andrew H. Knoll, Ph.D., Fisher Professor of Natural History and professor of earth and planetary sciences at Harvard University, will discuss the evidence for life on Mars at 7 p.m. Oct. 30 in Room 300, Laboratory Sciences Building, on the Danforth Campus of Washington University in St. Louis.

NASA spacecraft read layered clues to changes on Mars

NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona.Polar layered deposits exposed in a scarp at the head of Chasma Boreale, a large canyon on Mars.Mars climate history, recorded in ice-rich deposits near the poles, on crater-wall cliffs and ancient sand dunes, is being revealed by a trio of NASA instruments now flying over and rolling across the planet, suggest Washington University in St. Louis researchers playing key roles in the mission.

Water detection at Gusev crater described

Alian Wang in the laboratoryA large team of NASA scientists, led by earth and planetary scientists at Washington University in St. Louis, details the first solid set of evidence for water having existed on Mars at the Gusev crater, exploration site of the rover Spirit.