Led by WUSTL earth and planetary scientists, a large team of NASA scientists has detailed the first solid set of evidence for water having existed on Mars at the Gusev crater, the exploration site of the rover Spirit. Alian Wang, Ph.D., senior research scientist in earth and planetary sciences in Arts & Sciences, and Larry A. Haskin, Ph.D., professor of earth and planetary sciences, who died March 24, used an array of sophisticated equipment on Spirit to find that the volcanic rocks at Gusev crater near the rover’s landing site were much like the olivine-rich basaltic rocks on Earth. The researchers also found that some of the rocks possessed a coating rich in sulfur, bromine, chlorine and hematite, or oxidized iron.
The ultimate road trip, a nearly 100 billion-mile excursion out of the solar system, is being proposed by scientists at government laboratories in New Mexico and California. Their proposed interstellar space cruiser would haul a 1-ton telescope into the unexplored frontier of interstellar space at 380,000 mph, give or take a few thousand mph.