Curious Mars

Mars: January 2011

A new study in a recent issue of Science from NAI's NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Team and their colleagues looks at late accretion in the formation of the Earth, Moon, and Mars. Puzzled by the presence of highly siderophile elements (HSUs) in the terrestrial, lunar, and martian mantles, they show that the bombardment by leftover planetesimal populations dominated by massive projectiles can explain these additions. Their inferred size distribution matches those derived from the inner asteroid belt, ancient martian impact basins, and planetary accretion models. The largest late terrestrial impactors, at 2500 to 3000 kilometers in diameter, potentially modified Earth's obliquity by ~10*, whereas those for the Moon, at ~250 to 300 kilometers, may have delivered water to its mantle. [Source: NAI Newsletter]

The MSL Participating Scientist Program is intended to enhance the scientific return from the MSL mission ( by augmenting the existing MSL science team to include new investigations that broaden and/or complement the funded Principal Investigator (PI)-led investigations, thus maximizing the contribution of MSL to the future exploration and scientific understanding of Mars. The second and equally important goal of this opportunity is to increase the number of scientists supporting daily mission operations.

Notices of Intent are due January 21, 2011, and proposals are due March 22, 2011.

Go to:

Select "Solicitations" then "Open Solicitations" then "NNH10ZDA001N".

Questions concerning this program may be addressed to

Dr. Michael Meyer