Dr. Nina Lanza: ‘Exploring Mars With The Curiosity Rover’

Mars Curiosity Rover. Courtesy photo


Dr. Nina Lanza will present a Los Alamos Historical Society Lecture, “Exploring Mars with the Curiosity Rover,” following the Society’s annual meeting.

The meeting is 6:30 p.m. and the lecture is 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 12 in Fuller Lodge. Lanza is a scientist at Los Alamos National Laboratory. She is living her dream of working on a spaceship with lasers on Mars as part of the ChemCam instrument team on the Curiosity Rover.

Lanza is broadly interested in understanding the history of water on the Martian surface at a variety of scales. Her most recent work focuses on manganese in the Martian environment and its implications for habitability. 

Lanza was born and raised in Boston, Mass. and was educated at Smith College (BA, Astronomy), Wesleyan University (MA, Earth and Environmental Sciences), and the University of New Mexico (PhD, Earth and Planetary Sciences). She became enamored with space exploration after seeing Halley’s Comet in 1986 and has pursued work in the field ever since.


The Curiosity rover has been on the surface of Mars for about 1.5 Mars years (almost 3 Earth years). The goal of the Curiosity mission is to determine whether life could have been sustained in the Martian environment at some point in time. Curiosity has confirmed that Mars was indeed habitable: there is abundant evidence that her landing site, Gale crater, has had flowing liquid water in it. We will discuss the latest results from the Rover mission, with a focus on data from the ChemCam instrument.



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