Mariek Schmidt California-bound for Mars rover landing
Published on August 02 2012
As NASA’s latest space mission gets ready to land on Mars next week, Brock University researcher Mariek Schmidt will be getting down to work in California.
Schmidt is part of a team of about 200 international scientists and engineers who will help direct the rover vehicle Curiosity in its search for signs of life after it touches down Aug. 6.
“If we find evidence for past life, it would be the biggest discovery this thing could make, but I can’t say that’s going to happen,” said Schmidt, a geochemist in Brock’s Earth Sciences department. “That’s really the goal in Mars research now, is if life could have happened there.”
Schmidt, whose participation in the mission is funded by the Canadian Space Agency, will be one of three Canadians on the research team in Pasadena. She will work with other geochemists and mineralogists, studying rocks in the red planet’s Gale Crater to try to understand the conditions that existed when sediment and rocks were formed and those that may have altered sediment and rocks over time, such as fluids flowing through them or exposure to the Martian environment.