Mars2020 rover research to be done in Timmins



By Emma Meldrum / Postmedia, Original link:

Research done in Timmins will affect how the Mars2020 rover explores the planet in search of water – and life.

Ed Van Hees, regional resident geologist for the Timmins Region with the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines, said two researchers are coming to this area in August.

Dr. Adrian Brown and Dr. Pablo Sabron, California-based research scientists, will be in Timmins “to examine altered rocks in the region that contain talc, chlorite and carbonate comparable to what might be found on Mars,” said a prepared email statement.

“They will be making measurements on these rocks in the field using six different instruments in order to characterize how these rocks/minerals appear to the instruments.”

Talc, chlorite and carbonate are minerals. If the Mars2020 rover finds them, “it will indicate that there is water on Mars, and therefore, possibly life.”

Brown and Sabron's research is funded by the NASA Astrobiology Institute, noted the statement.

“They are calibrating instruments that will be carried by the Mars2020 rover – a vehicle that will explore the surface of Mars beginning in 2020 – in order to try and differentiate” types of clay.

“If they can identify minerals like the talc and serpentine that only form where water is present, it will help support the presence of water on Mars.”

Dr. Brown will present “How Canada Rocks – The NASA Mars 2020 Rover Landing Site” at Northern College on Thursday, Aug. 10.

According to NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration)'s website, the Mars2020 rover is car-sized and weighs just over 2,000 pounds.

Like the Curiosity rover, which is exploring the planet's climate and geology, the 2020 rover will be mounted with cameras and sensors. Mars 2020 will collect samples of promising rock and soil, which could be brought back to Earth on a future mission, the website states.