During the week of 29 October through 2 November 2012, Dr Jeffery Hollingsworth, Space Scientist & Chief, Planetary Systems Branch (Code SST), and Principal Investigator (PI) of the NASA ARC Mars Climate Modeling Project (MCMC), was invited to travel to the United Kingdom by the Mathematical, Physical and Life Sciences Division and the Head of the Atmospheric, Oceanic and Planetary Physics Department (AOPP), University of Oxford, to serve as the External Examiner in the D.Phil. (PhD) examination (or "viva") of Mr David Mulholland, a candidate for degree.
The SAM (Sample Analysis on Mars) instrument on the Curiosity Mars Rover has completed its initial testing and checkout. The instrument has already sampled the Martian air, measuring the bulk composition and searching for methane. In the first few days of November it is expected the the instrument will obtain its first soil sample.