University of Minnesota
School of Physics & Astronomy

Physics and Astronomy Calendar

Friday, January 31st 2020
2:30 pm:
Speaker: Valerie Fox, University of MN, Earth Sciences
Subject: Building a comprehensive geologic record of Gale Crater, Mars, from both space-based and in-situ rover observations

The Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity Rover landed in Gale Crater, Mars, in 2012 and has been investigating ~3.5 billion year old rock deposits that record evidence of significant environmental change on Mars, from surface lakes and rivers in the ancient past to the hyper-arid, freezing desert of today. This talk will cover how we investigate the geologic record at many scales – from tens of meters per pixel in orbital hyperspectral imaging data down to tens of microns in rover images and drill samples – to build a comprehensive picture of the geological history of Gale Crater, early Mars, and planetary evolution.

Bio (if needed): Valerie Fox is a recently joined postdoctoral researcher in the UMN Earth Science Department. She is the science campaign lead for the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity Rover’s current field campaign, exploring clay mineral-bearing strata in an ancient lacustrine basin. She studies aqueous alteration on early Mars using orbital and in-situ mission results to better understand ancient environmental conditions. She finished her PhD in Earth and Planetary Sciences at Washington University in Saint Louis in 2017, and her bachelors degree in Physics from Carleton College, Minnesota in 2012.

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