John Grotzinger, NASA's Curiosity Mission chief scientist and a geologist at Caltech, will deliver a talk at Pomona College on "The NASA Curiosity Rover's New Findings from Mars" on Tuesday, March 11, at 11 a.m. in Rose Hills Theatre (Smith Campus Center, 170 E. Sixth St., Claremont).
Among its findings, the Curiosity rover discovered fine-grained sedimentary rocks, believed to represent an ancient lake, stream or groundwater system that could have supported a Martian biosphere. Grotzinger will explain how key biogenic elements—carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, sulfur, nitrogen and phosporous— were measured directly, and how the environment could have existed for millions of years, highlighting the biological viability of streams and lakes in the early history of Mars.
Grotzinger is interested in the evolution of surface environments on Earth and Mars, using field-mapping studies as the starting point for more topical laboratory-based studies involving geochemical, geologic and geochronological techniques.
Grotzinger is a member of the National Academy of Sciences. Prior to Caltech, he was a professor at MIT. He did his undergraduate work at Hobart College, earned his master's degree at University of Montana, and received his doctorate from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.
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