Highlights for 03/20/09

star cluster
star cluster

Bob Haberle (Planetary Systems Branch / SST):

Bob Haberle attended a Mars Meteorology Network meeting at the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, CO last week (3/10-12). The purpose of the meeting was to reassess the value of network meteorological missions to Mars. The product of the workshop will be a white paper that will provide input to the next National Research Council’s Decadal Survey that is presently being formulated.

Jeff Hollingsworth (Planetary Systems Branch / SST):

Jeffery Hollingsworth has been invited to give a seminar on Mars’ climate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences and the Program in Atmospheres, Oceans and Climate (PAOC), 30 March 2009.

Jennifer Heldmann (Planetary Systems Branch / SST on detail to HQ)

The San Jose Mercury News (3/17, 233K) editorializes, “Amid economic gloom, NASA and the region’s higher education institutions have given us something to get excited about: plans for a 75-acre research park and residential community at Moffett Field that should cement the valley’s place as a leader in green and information technology research.” Even though “hurdles remain,” such as finding a developer, the editorial comments, “Within a decade, we could look back at this as a pivotal moment when the region’s colleges and universities broke down barriers between them in pursuit of a new frontier.”

Nathalie Cabrol (SETI Institute & Planetary Systems Branch / SST):

Congress has commended the MER team and there are several people at Ames including the Division who are working in that team.

David Blake (Exobiology Branch / SSX):

The Terra portable XRD/XRF, which is a commercial version of the Ames CheMin instrument that is on the Mars Science Laboratory mission, was awarded the Gold medal as “Best New Product” at the 2009 PITCON conference this week. PITCON is the largest commercial instrument conference in the world.

Terra is offered by inXitu, Inc., a Mountain View company started by Philippe Sarrazin, a former NASA Postdoctoral Fellow at Ames. Terra uses technology established by two NASA/ARC patents and was developed in part through NASA SBIR programs administered at Ames.

Terra has been actively used in a number of terrestrial field expeditions by NASA, including 3 campaigns in the high arctic (Spitsbergen), Scarab/RESOLVE ISRU on Mauna Kea, Hawaii, the dry valleys of Antarctica, Death Valley, CA and Canada. Most recently, Terra was deployed during the EuroGeoMars campaign at MDRS Utah by the European Space Agency.

Information about the award, voted on by 200 technology editors, can be seen at: