As pictured above, five Lassonde researchers from the Department of Earth and Space Science and Engineering (ESSE) were presented with certificates by NASA “For exceptional technical innovations and execution of rover surface operations leading to numerous, profound new discoveries about the ancient climate and habitability of Mars.” From left to right these are Casey A. Moore (PhD Candidate), Dr. Christina L. Smith (Postdoctoral Fellow), Prof. John E. Moores, Jacob Kloos (PhD Candidate) and Dr. John Burton (absent from photo).
Prof. John Moores and four other researchers in his Planetary Volatiles Laboratory from the Lassonde School of Engineering have been presented with the NASA Group Achievement Award for their contributions to the Mars Science Laboratory’s (popularly known as the Curiosity Rover) first extended mission, which completed in 2016.
The research group is directly involved with rover operations, with students helping to decide each day which tasks the spacecraft will carry out on Mars. Once those tasks are completed, scientific measurements are taken and the data are returned to Earth, the same students complete the analysis required to yield new discoveries, such as the water-ice clouds glimpsed above Gale Crater by the Group in August.
“It’s a great feeling to be recognized for what the team has accomplished, but the work of exploring Mars and its past and present environment continues!” noted Moores, whose students are also a part of the 2nd Extended Mission of Curiosity, currently underway.