Center for Earth and Planetary Studies geologist John Grant was selected to the participating scientist team of the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) mission launched November 26, 2011. According to NASA, there were 149 proposals submitted to the MSL Participating Scientist Program. Dr. Grant's proposal was titled "Defining the Geologic Setting and Identifying Science Targets during the MSL Mission," and was one of 29 selected. Dr. Grant previously served as co-chair of the mission’s landing site committee and continues to serve in that capacity in planning for possible future missions to the Red Planet.
At a July 22, 2011 press conference at the National Air and Space Museum, Dr. Grant participated in a NASA announcement that Gale Crater will be the landing site for the MSL. Scheduled to arrive on Mars in early August 2012, the MSL is a small car-size rover that will assess the planet’s “habitability” — if it ever was, or is today, an environment able to support microbial life.
Photo: Dr. John Grant describes the next Mars rover to a Mars Day! visitor.