Since landing in Gale Crater during the summer of 2012 the NASA Mars rover, Curiosity, has been traversing up the side of Mount Sharp, a 5 km high mound of layered sedimentary rocks. Analysis of Curiosity data demonstrates that the oldest rocks, located at the base of Mount Sharp, were deposited in rivers and lakes, when Mars was warm, wet, and likely habitable. We will start the course by laying out the scientific rationale for robotically exploring Mars, focusing on the possibility of early life on the red planet. We will then discuss Curiosity's instrumentation and mobility system, go over key scientific discoveries, and follow progress on a weekly basis as the rover continues its uphill trek to younger and younger strata. Student assessment will be based on submitted weekly reports that cover such topics as rover-based science objectives, instrument descriptions and capabilities, and student-based analysis of data collected by Curiosity during the summer. Limit: 24 students. Prerequisites: EPS 201 Earth and the Environment or permission of the instructor. SP 2021: Hybrid instruction; synchronous each meeting.
Course Attributes: FA NSMAR NSMAS NSM
Section 01Special Topics: "What is the Curiosity Mars Rover Doing This Week?"
INSTRUCTOR: ArvidsonView Course Listing