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Mars Exploration Driven by Curiosity

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Google Tech Talk December 6, 2012 (expand for more info) Presented by Dr. Michael A. Meyer. ABSTRACT The possibility of life on Mars has become a scientific issue of profound importance, a topic of public interest, and a question that research and space exploration can address. Although Viking landings on Mars in 1976 found a cold and dry planet, our concepts of the limits to life and our expectation of the habitability of Mars have continued to expand. The modern era of Mars exploration has transformed our imagined static lifeless desert planet to a dynamic planet, one that has the potential for life in the past and possibly even the present. Our exploration endeavors have culminated with the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) landing on August 6, 2012. This mission is the first roving analytical laboratory and considered the first astrobiology mission to Mars since Viking. The rover has ten instruments, including environmental sensors and a laboratory capable of determining elemental composition, mineralogy, and organic content of surface and near-surface samples. This mission has begun to explore Gale Crater, and its 5 km high central peak, Mount Sharp, whose sediments will provide snapshots of environmental conditions of Mars as it transitioned from its earlier warmer and wetter periods through to a planet whose surface has became cold, dry, and acidic. Hopefully results from the mission will help us determine if that area was ever able to support microbial life and assess its potential for preservation of biosignatures. Already, the science team has discovered an ancient riverbed and the heavy-isotopic ratios of a remnant thicker atmosphere. This mission is the most complex, sophisticated robotic planetary mission ever attempted and a major step in Mars exploration. Speaker Info: Dr. Michael A. Meyer Lead Scientist for the Mars Exploration Program NASA Headquarters Michael Meyer is a Senior Scientist at NASA Headquarters in the Science Mission Directorate. He is the Lead Scientist for NASA's Mars Exploration Program, responsible for the science content of current and future Mars missions, and Program Scientist for the Mars Science Laboratory/Curiosity mission. During this period, Dr. Meyer has also served as the science liaison for the Review of Human Spaceflight Plans Committee (Seeking a Human Spaceflight Program Worthy of a Great Nation). In 2009, Dr. Meyer was awarded Presidential Rank Award for Meritorious Professional Service. Meyer was the Senior Scientist for Astrobiology and Program Scientist for the Mars Odyssey mission that was launched in 2001 and is still orbiting Mars. The Astrobiology Program, started in 1997 with Dr. Meyer as the Discipline Scientist, is dedicated to the study of the life in the universe. Since 1993, Dr. Meyer managed NASA's Exobiology Program and from 1994 to 1997, Dr. Meyer was also the Planetary Protection Officer for NASA, responsible for mission compliance to NASA's policy concerning forward and back contamination during planetary exploration. Dr. Meyer was the Program Scientist for the Mars Microprobe mission (DS-2) and for two Phase I Shuttle/Mir experiments. Meyer was detailed from the Desert Research Institute, University of Nevada, where he was an assistant research professor from 1989-97. From 1985 to 1989, he served as associate director and associate in research for the Polar Desert Research Center, Department of Biological Science, Florida State University. In 1982, he was a visiting research scientist at the Culture Centre for Algae and Protozoa in Cambridge, England. Dr. Meyer's primary research interest is in microorganisms living in extreme environments, particularly the physical factors controlling microbial growth and survival. He has conducted field research in the Gobi Desert, Negev Desert, Siberia, and the Canadian Arctic. He is also a veteran of six research expeditions to Antarctica, to study microbial ecosystems in the McMurdo Dry Valleys (1985/87), investigate krill- phytoplankton relations (1978/81), and research primary productivity in the Weddell Sea (1977). His experience also includes two summers working as a treasure salvager off the coasts of Florida and North Carolina. Dr. Meyer earned his Ph.D. and M.S. in oceanography from Texas A&M University (1985 and 1981) and his B.S. in biology from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (1974). This Google Tech Talk was hosted by Boris Debic.
48:00
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Google Tech Talk June 10, 2010 ABSTRACT Presented by Chris Carberry. 428 million years ago Pneumodesmus newmani, a Late Silurian millipede made a huge evolutionary leap. It is the first recorded creature to have left its natural habitat - the early ocean - and moved to live on land. Humanity lives in a similar period today, we have just started leaving our natural habitat - the Earth. And we will soon travel and even colonize Mars. Mars prizes have been discussed for years, but this concept has never gained momentum because the majority of Mars Prize proposals have required investments of several billions of dollars with the singular goal of landing humans on the surface of Mars. While humans to Mars is our eventual goal as well, a Mars prize does not need cost billions of dollars. In actuality, important Mars related innovation can be achieved with prizes levels as small as $10,000-$100,000. In this talk, Explore Mars Executive Director, Chris Carberry, will discuss a series of Mars Exploration Challenges that Explore Mars, Inc. will launch starting in 2010. The first of these challenges will be the In Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) Challenge. With this prize, Explore Mars, Inc. will be challenging teams around the country to develop technology and innovations that will help future astronauts to be able to "live off the land" on the Martian surface. This type of challenge can be a potent force in innovating technology necessary for sending humans to Mars. Of equal importance, this type of prize can also influence space policy. While Mars has been mentioned as the ultimate destination of the United States space program, real private sector contributions to technology development can have a real impact on space policy. Technology development prizes can also create stability. ISRU was part of the NASA exploration budget several years ago, but it fell victim to budget cuts before the program was able to fulfill its purpose. Mars prizes can provide momentum and stability that is necessary to continuously advance vital technologies. Over the next few years, Explore Mars will launch several prizes with the goal of advancing the engineering, science, medicine, education, and overall study of Mars. In addition to discussing these prize concept, Chris will also want to brainstorm with the Google audience to discuss technical and societal issues that will need to be overcome to if humanity is ever going to be able to set foot on Mars. This talk was hosted by Boris Debic. Speaker Info: Chris Carberry Chris Carberry is the Executive Director and co-founder of Explore Mars, Inc.. Prior to Explore Mars, Chris served as Executive Director of The Mars Society. In addition, Chris has served as Chairman of The Mars Societty Steering Committee and was Political Director for that organization. Chris served as chairman or co-coordinator of such congressional lobbying events as the 2007-2010 Space Budget Blitz, the 2007 Moon-Mars Blitz, the 2006 Space Blitz, and the Great 2006 Mars Blitz. Chris also serves as the Chairman of the Steering Committee of the Space Exploration Alliance, which is an umbrella group representing 13 space advocacy organizations with total membership of over 700,000 people. He also served on the Board of Directors for the National Space Society. Chris is the author of many articles and Op-Ed pieces concerning space policy and politics. In addtion, Chris is the author of a mystery/science fiction novel called Celestial Pursuits: in the hub of the Universe which was published in 2006. In 2007, Chris signed a movie option contract for Celestial Pursuits, with a Los Angeles production company. Chris also has an extensive background in historical research, having worked as research assistant for several authors, including British biographer Sarah Bradford (America's Queen) and former New York Times Magazine editor Ed Klein (The Kennedy Curse).
49:35
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[Recorded July 28, 2003] In January of 2004, two golf-cart sized rovers landed on the planet Mars to seek evidence about whether the environment there might once have been capable of supporting life. Originally intended to last 90 days and rover 600 meters, these two Mars Exploration Rovers, named Spirit and Opportunity, have far exceeded those expectations. Pete Theisinger, the Manager of the Mars Exploration Rover Project through its development, and now Manager of the 2009 Mars Science Laboratory Project, will describe the challenges of developing the two Mars Exploration Rovers in just three years. He will discuss the design process, relate the myriad challenges and setbacks that had to be overcome during development and operations, and give the definitive behind-the-scenes story of the extraordinary flight and surface operations of the Rover, including some glimpses into the mission's scientific results.
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Subscribe Now: http://www.youtube.com/subscription_center?add_user=ehoweducation Watch More: http://www.youtube.com/ehoweducation The wind speed around the Mars rover directly affects a number of different things, like the craft's speed. Find out about wind speed around the Mars rover with help from an experienced science educator in this free video clip. Expert: Eylene Pirez Filmmaker: bjorn wilde Series Description: We will probably never know all there is to know about our solar system, but that doesn't mean that we're going to stop trying. Find out about our solar system with help from an experienced science educator in this free video series.
41:18
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High-quality planetary maps and 3D terrain models have become essential for NASA to plan exploration missions and conduct science. This is particularly true for robotic missions to the Moon and Mars, where maps are used for site selection, traverse planning, and planetary science. This is also important for studies of climate change on Earth, where maps are used to track environmental change (such as polar ice movement). In this talk, we will describe how the Intelligent Robotics Group (http://irg.arc.nasa.gov) at NASA Ames builds highly accurate, large-scale planetary maps and 3D terrain models from orbital imagery using novel statistical stereographic and photometric techniques. Orbital imagery includes data captured by the Apollo missions, on-going NASA and international missions, and commercial providers (such as Digital Globe). The mapmaking software that we have developed (Vision Workbench, Ames Stereo Pipeline, Neo-Geography Toolkit) is available as open-source and is widely used by scientists and mission planners.
58:25
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Steven Squyres, Professor of Astronomy at Cornell University, was the principle scientist behind the Mars Exploration Rover Project. He discusses the engineering challenges that had to be met in getting the rovers to Mars, as well as the scientific results obtained by both vehicles over more than seven years of exploration. Series: "UC Berkeley Graduate Council Lectures" [7/2011] [Science] [Show ID: 21040]
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(Visit: http://www.uctv.tv) Conversations host Harry Kreisler welcomes Cornell's Steven Squyres for a discussion of the Mars Exploration Rover Mission. Reflecting on the intellectual journey that led to his role in the Mars mission, Squires reminisces about his early years, his education and his career in geology and astronomy. Discussing the role of leadership in a complex scientific project, he compares the characteristics, skill set, and work of scientists and engineers, and he describes the dynamic process that led to the project's success in exploring Mars. He explains the importance of the mission and what was learned and concludes with thoughts on the future of planetary exploration. Series: "Conversations with History" [8/2011] [Science] [Show ID: 22444]