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What will Ancient Sedimentary Rock Tell us About the History of Life on Mars?

23 Feb 2021, 13:32 UTC
What will Ancient Sedimentary Rock Tell us About the History of Life on Mars?
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Panorama of Perseverance Rover’s landing site on Mars. (Credit: NASA)

Two Stony Brook professors involved in the Perseverance nission weigh In

STONY BROOK, NY, February 22, 2021 (Stony Brook University PR) — The new era of space exploration features two Stony Brook University faculty members as part of the development of NASA’s Mars 2020 Perseverance rover that recently landed. Distinguished Professor Scott McLennan and Associate Professor Joel Hurowitz both worked on the PIXL (Planetary Instrument for X-ray Lithochemistry) that is attached to the arm of the rover.

The PIXL is a micro-focus X-ray fluorescence instrument that rapidly measures elemental chemistry by focusing an X-ray beam to a tiny spot on the target rock or soil, analyzing the induced X-ray fluorescence. Both professors have been working on Mars missions with NASA since 2004.

In addition to the PIXL, Professor McLennan is also a member of the SuperCam instrument team and the mission’s Returned Sample Science Working Group that will coordinate the selection of samples that will be drilled, placed into sealed containers, and cached on the Martian surface for potential future return to Earth, as part of a multi-mission international Mars Sample Return campaign.

The Mars 2020 Perseverance rover will ...

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