March 4, 2015

The Curiosity Mission is exploring Mars in a whole new way, with discoveries that are providing a more vivid picture of current and ancient Mars. The rover's search for habitable environments, for organic material, and for proof of once-flowing water has been remarkably successful. Next up is a climb of portions of three-mile high Mount Sharp, in order to read the eons-old mineral record. NASA's Pamela Conrad will focus on habitability—what conditions must be met to declare that an area had the capacity to support life. Marc Kaufman, author of "Mars Up Close: Inside the Curiosity Mission" will provide a mission overview. Carnegie's Andrew Steele will discuss the effort to identify organic material—the building blocks of life— in the desiccated and irradiated Gale Crater. The group will discuss new discoveries.

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