Gelinas Students Hear About Mars Research

Gelinas Students Hear About Mars Research1
Gelinas Students Hear About Mars Research3
Gelinas Students Hear About Mars Research4
P.J. Gelinas Junior High School eighth-grade students went behind the scenes of space exploration during a recent Lunch With a Scientist program involving guest speaker Dr. Joel Hurowitz, assistant professor from Stony Brook University’s Department of Geosciences. 

The talk, held during the students’ lunch period, was based around Professor Hurowitz’s research of the surface of Mars using current and future NASA rover missions. Throughout the presentation, he focused on the development of an instrument that will be placed on an arm of the rover NASA plans send to the Martian surface in the year 2020. 

The instrument, known as PIXL, for Planetary Instrument for X-Ray Lithochemistry, will be mounted at the end of the rover’s robotic arm, allowing it to be placed next to a rock or soil target. It is designed to provide finer-scale identification of the elemental composition of the surface of Mars than ever before possible. This will allow Dr. Hurowitz and other scientists to gain a better understanding of the composition of the rocks as well as clues to their origins. In past rover missions, the surface rocks on Mars suggested the presence of large amounts of water flowing on the surface. 

In addition to the research, Professor Hurowitz also described his journey from a student in a New York State Earth Science classroom to his current position with Stony Brook’s Department of Geosciences.