Dr. Ashwin R. Vasavada

TOPIC:Mars Curiosity Rover
DISCIPLINE: Physics Interdisciplinary
DATE:Feb. 7, 2017, 8 p.m.


Nearly five years after its celebrated arrival at Mars, the Curiosity rover continues to reveal Mars as a once-habitable planet.  Early in the planet’s history, generations of streams and lakes created the landforms that Curiosity explores today.  The rover currently is climbing through the foothills of Mount Sharp, a 3-miile-high mountain formed from sediment brought in by water and wind.  This talk will cover the latest findings from the mission, the challenges of exploration with an aging robot, and what lies ahead.


Dr. Vasavada is a planetary scientist at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.  Currently he is the Project Scientist for NASA's Curiosity rover that successfully reached Mars in August, 2012.  His research interests include the climate history of Mars, the weather on Jupiter and Saturn, and the possibility of ice at the poles of the Moon and Mercury.  He has participated in the operation and analysis of data from several NASA spacecraft missions, including the Galileo mission to Jupiter and the Cassini mission to Saturn.  He holds a B.S. in Geophysics from UCLA and a Ph.D. in Planetary Science from Caltech.

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