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LETU to Host Mars Curiosity Rover Scientist Dr. Roger Wiens March 24


LeTourneau University will feature Dr. Roger Wiens from the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) to speak about the Mars Curiosity rover at a spring science seminar at 7 p.m. Friday, March 24, in the Education Building Room 117/120 on the LeTourneau University campus, 2100 S. Mobberly Ave. in Longview.

The educational event is free and open to the public.

"We are encouraging folks to come early to get a seat for this event, which promises to be a very interesting evening," said Dr. Steve Ball, LETU physics professor.

Wiens is an accomplished scientist with experience with numerous missions in planetary exploration. He is the principle investigator of the Mars Curiosity Rover and author of the book "Red Rover: Inside the Story of Robotic Space Exploration, from Genesis to the Mars Rover Curiosity."

Wiens' interest in science began when he was still a child. He remembers building rockets and telescopes as a 9-year-old and learning about other planets.

Now, 40 years later, Wiens is the project leader of a remote sensing instrument called ChemCam that analyzes rocks and soil samples aboard the one-ton Mars Curiosity Rover, which arrived on the surface of the red planet in 2012 and has been finding evidence about the planet.

ChemCam focuses a telescope on a rock then focuses laser shots and produces a flash of light to view through spectrometers what is inside the rocks, which helps determine whether Mars ever was or ever could be habitable. ChemCam data results show ancient Mars to be more Earth-like than anticipated. During his presentation, Wiens will discuss plans for a new rover launch in 2020.

LeTourneau University is the premier Christian polytechnic university in the nation where educators engage students to nurture Christian virtue, develop competency and ingenuity in their professional fields, integrate faith and work, and serve the local and global community. LETU offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs across a range of disciplines and delivery models at LETU's residential campus in Longview, Texas, and in hybrid and fully online options at centers in Dallas and Houston.

Categories: Chemistry, Physics