FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 11, 2021
As the Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover mission prepares to land on the surface of the Red Planet on Thursday, Feb. 18, introducing a new chapter in the search for evidence of life on other planets in our solar system, the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science (NMMNHS) will be providing exclusive insights into this extraordinary journey from one of the Museum’s planetary geologists, who is also a science team member on Perseverance.
Back in November, Dr. Larry Crumpler, a volcanology and space sciences researcher at NMMNHS, was named to the Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover mission team, following his ground-breaking work with the Mars Exploration Rover in 2003-18. The Perseverance Rover will explore an area on Mars that is interpreted to be an ancient river delta, and it will also select and prepare samples of Mars for return to Earth by a future mission. The Perseverance mission is scheduled to last nearly two years, however it will likely continue beyond that time.
Crumpler, along with NMMNHS’s other planetary geologist, Jayne Aubele, will provide details about Mars exploration before, during, and after the Perseverance rover landing through a series of free virtual events.
Crumpler will give a brief overview about Mars and the Perseverance Rover mission at an online Zoom presentation at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 16. To submit questions during this Q&A session, register for the talk here. This presentation will also be shown on the Museum’s YouTube channel with no registration needed, but there will be no interaction with Crumpler.
The NMMNHS Facebook page will host a watch party for NASA’s coverage of the Perseverance Rover landing starting at 12:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 18. Questions submitted into the video’s comment section will be answered by the Museum’s space science staff.
After NASA’s post-landing news conference the same day, Crumpler will present another brief overview of the plans for the mission’s first 30-60 sols (Mars days) and a Q&A event via Zoom beginning at 4:30 p.m. To submit questions for the presentation, register here. You may also watch without participating in the discussion on the Museum’s YouTube channel.
“Similar to the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science’s walkthrough time exhibits, Perseverance will rove through sediments deposited by a river delta in the ancient past on Mars searching for signs of organic materials associated with past life,” said Crumpler. “It will test exciting new technologies such as a Mars helicopter and a method for the production of oxygen necessary for future human missions to Mars. This will be the last great Mars surface mission for several years and promises to be a grand geological field trip.”
Check out the new webpage related to the Perseverance Rover mission on the NMMNHS website, with extensive information and fun activities for all ages. Crumpler will also continue the blog “Field Reports from Mars” on the Museum’s website.
Click here to keep up to date with the progress of the Perseverance Rover mission on the NASA website.
NMMNHS is one of only two museums directly involved in the Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover mission, the other being the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.
About the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science
The New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science is a division of the Department of Cultural Affairs, under the leadership of the Board of Trustees of the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science. Programs and exhibits are generously supported by the New Mexico Museum of Natural History Foundation, through the generous support of donors. Established in 1986, the mission of the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science is to preserve and interpret the distinctive natural and scientific heritage of our state through extraordinary collections, research, exhibits, and programs designed to ignite a passion for lifelong learning. The NMMNHS offers exhibitions, programs, and workshops in Geoscience, including Paleontology and Mineralogy, Bioscience, and Space Science. It is the Southwest’s largest repository for fossils and includes a Planetarium and a large format 3D DynaTheater.