Live online chat about Mars with Dr. Ken Edgett, member of the Mars Science Laboratory mission
Date: Thursday, October 13, 2005
9:00 - 10:00 AM Alaska Time
10:00 - 11:00 AM Pacific Time
11:00 AM - noon Mountain Time
noon - 1:00 PM Central Time
1:00 - 2:00 PM Eastern Time
About Dr. Ken Edgett:
Dr. Ken Edgett is a staff scientist with Malin Space Science Systems in San Diego, Calif. This small, private company employs about 30 people and builds, operates, and conducts research with cameras onboard spacecraft. The majority of the cameras have been sent to Mars, but the company presently has projects to send cameras to orbit the Moon and Jupiter as well. Dr. Edgett's main duties center on targeting Mars Global Surveyor's camera and leading the development of a new microscopic imager (called MAHLI) for the 2009 Mars Science Laboratory mission.
Ken Edgett grew up in Rochester, N.Y. Since fifth grade, Dr. Edgett's main interest has been the geology of Mars. He was inspired by the Viking landings on the Red Planet in 1976, but actually credits the Apollo landings on the Moon and an episode of the "Flintstones" (when they went to Mars) for his initial interest.
Dr. Edgett earned a B.A. in Geology at Earlham College, Richmond, Ind. (1987), followed by a M.S. (1990) and Ph.D. (1994) at Arizona State University in Tempe, Ariz. He is also interested in science education and directed the ASU Mars Education Program at Arizona State University from 1992 to 1998. With co-author Peggy Wethered and artist Michael Chesworth, Edgett is an author of TOUCHDOWN MARS, a children's book published by G.P. Putnams Sons, Inc., in May 2000.
Mars Science Laboratory Mission Background:
Planned Launch in December 2009; Planned Arrival on Mars in October 2010.
Twice as long and three times as heavy as the Mars Exploration Rovers Spirit and Opportunity, NASA's Mars Science Laboratory will collect Martian soil samples and rock cores and analyze them for organic compounds and environmental conditions that could have supported microbial life now or in the past. The mission is anticipated to have a truly international flavor, with instruments being provided by the Russian Federal Space Agency, the Spanish Ministry of Education and Science, and the Canadian Space Agency with participation by the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry in Germany.
Using unparalleled new tools, Mars Science Laboratory will examine martian rocks and soils in greater detail than ever before to determine the geologic processes that formed them; study the martian atmosphere; and determine the distribution and circulation of water and carbon dioxide, whether frozen, liquid, or gaseous.
NASA plans to select a landing site on the basis of highly detailed images sent to Earth by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter beginning in 2006, in addition to data from earlier missions.
Text adapted from NASA/JPL