David Blake, a geologist in the Exobiology Branch at Ames Research Center, was recently interviewed about the CheMin mineralogy instrument that he developed and that is currently on its way to Mars as part of the Mars Science Laboratory mission. The interview, which appeared on the first page of the San Jose Mercury News on 7/17/12 (web link below),
described details of CheMin, the Curiosity rover and the science rationale for the MSL mission, as well as touching on Blake’s 22-year quest to build the first X-ray diffraction instrument to be launched into space. The CheMin project was started under a NASA Ames DDF in 1991, and benefited from PIDDP, ASTID, ASTEP and MIDDP funding as well as technology projects funded through the SBIR program. CheMin will land on Mars during the centennial of the discovery of X-ray diffraction by Max Theodor von Laue, who received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1914 for this discovery.