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Physics Seminar - Reconstructing Ancient Environments on Mars with the Curiosity rover

This is a past event.

Friday, March 26, 2021 at 1:00pm

Virtual Event

Prof. Frances Rivera (Georgia Tech)

Join us on Zoom

Abstract: Since the Curiosity rover landed in Gale crater in August 2012, the Mars Science Laboratory Mission Science Team has been using Curiosity data to characterize past habitable environments on Mars; one of the main goals of the mission. Key to accomplishing this goal has been to accurately measure the size of grains in sedimentary rocks as this is needed to interpret past depositional environments, specifically information about the speed of past fluid flows. In this talk, I will present an overview of the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover, discuss how we can reconstruct ancient depositional environments using rock grain size, and present overview results on the depositional environments preserved in the Murray formation in Gale crater. I will also briefly talk about the new NASA Mars 2020 Perseverance rover.

Brief Bio: Dr. Frances Rivera-Hernández is a planetary geologist and an Assistant Professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology in the School of Earth & Atmospheric Sciences. Her research focuses on understanding planetary surface processes and environments (modern and ancient) as recorded in sedimentary deposits and terrains. Her research is interdisciplinary, commonly integrating remote sensing, analog field and lab studies, and numerical analyses. She has a Ph.D. in Geology from the University of California at Davis, M.Sc. in Earth and Spaces Sciences from the University of Washington, and B.S. degrees in Geology and Astrophysics from the University of Wyoming.

Prof. Rivera’s website

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