Western Washington University Associate Professor of Geology Melissa Rice recently attended a NASA workshop in Monrovia, California with a number of her students to help select landing sites for the Mars 2020 rover mission.
Rice, who is a member of the Curiosity rover science team that has been exploring Mars since 2012, joined 172 scientists in narrowing down eight different potential landing sites to a final three sites.
Senior Geology major Grace Sutherland (Seattle) is working on a project that looks at braided rivers - a river system that consists of a network of small channels separated by small and often temporary islands called braid bars - and the effect that they have on the environment they are in.
Sutherland has built a model in the Western Experimental Earth Surface Laboratory that allows her to study sediment flow and how braided rivers are created.
Curiosity, the Mars rover that Western’s Assistant Professor of Geology Melissa Rice helps to operate, sends her a 360-degree image of the Planet’s desolate landscape every morning.
As if seeing brand-new images from another planet isn’t amazing enough, the new Microsoft HoloLens headset that Rice recently received uses these photos to produce an augmented reality simulation of the Mars landscape. This allows Rice to explore, virtually, the Mars landscape around the rover.