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28 September 2010

4th MSL Landing Site Workshop: Day 1

It has begun! Today was the first of a three day workshop in which the Mars science community (not just those directly involved in the MSL mission) gathers together and hashes out what we know and what we don’t know about the four finalist MSL landing sites. For me the week actually started yesterday at the MSL team meeting, where we got lots of updates on the various aspects of …

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24 September 2010

The 4th MSL Landing Site Workshop

Well folks, I’m off to Pasadena to help the Mars community decide where to send its next rover. Long-time readers will recall that i’ve been to a couple of these things before and they’re always fascinating. I was going to post a reminder of what the four finalist sites are, with pros and cons and all that, but it turns out I don’t have to! My friend Lisa Grossman, a …

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26 April 2010

MarsSed 2010 Field trip – Day 1: Guadalupe Mountains and Evaporites

Hello everyone, I’m back from the MarsSed 2010 meeting in ElPaso! The meeting was great: it was small and focused on sedimentology and stratigraphy on Mars, with lots of room for discussion. Even better, there were plenty of terrestrial geologists attending, and their comments were extremely helpful for me, and probably many other Martians who lack a geology background. After two and a half days of presentations and discussion (and …

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16 December 2009

AGU 2009 – Day 1

For those not familiar with the conference, the fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union is a terrifyingly, overwhelmingly large conference. Each year, something like 16,000 geoscientists descend on San Francisco to share their work. It is also one of the major planetary science conferences, so a lot of new results are first presented here. This year, the first talks that I checked out on Monday were about radar observations …

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21 October 2008

Massive Crystals: The coolest thing I've ever seen.

Really, that’s all I said for like 5 minutes after seeing this picture for the first time: Those are PEOPLE, for scale. Here’s another pic, just to put you in a little more awe: These are the largest crystals yet to be found on Earth, with some reaching over 30 feet in length! As reported in NG, The Cueva de los Cristales is located 1000 feet below ground in the …

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17 September 2008

MSL Workshop Presentations!

For those of you playing along at home, I thought I should point out that most of the presentations so far are posted at the “marsoweb” landing site website, so I encourage you to go check them out. Also, in case you were wondering, I have no idea which sites I want to survive this process. I have one or two that I am skeptical of, but I am really …

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16 September 2008

Potential MSL Site: South Meridiani

The south Meridiani landing site is a newcomer to the bunch. It was added earlier this summer as a replacement for the north meridiani site. The south Meridiani site is about 100 km due south of the Opportunity rover landing site and about 100 km due east of the Miyamoto site. What makes the south Meridiani site interesting is that, just south of the landing ellipse, you transition from Meridiani …

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3rd MSL Landing Site Workshop – Engineering and Geobiology

We covered a LOT today, so I have decided to split things up. This post will cover the talks in the morning and then I will give each site its own post. Today started off with presentations from some of the engineers and managers on the mission. They updated us on the rover’s status (it it making lots of progress, but still has a long way to go!), and informed …

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21 June 2008

The Great Canadian Adventure – Part 2: Gypsumville and Salt Springs

After our trip to the mine tailings, we headed to the remains of an ancient 40 km impact crater. The crater is totally invisible, but the rocks tell the story plain as day. Our first stop was just outside the town of Gypsumville. We drove through swampy, bumpy back roads into the middle of nowhere and stopped next to an unassuming patch of rock and gravel. At first it didn’t …

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20 June 2008

The Great Canadian Adventure: Part 1 – The Price of Gold

After our trip to Great Sand Dunes National Park, where we compared dunes on Earth to those on Mars, we flew up north to Winnipeg, Canada. There we met up with a bunch of geologists and spent three days exploring a bunch of interesting sites in Manitoba. The first site was an old mine tailings dump from a gold mine in the area. When mining for gold, the rocks are …

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