Starry-eyed surprise

SKC professor tells of Curiosity's findings on Mars

Print Article

Many people remember Salish Kootenai College’s contributions the 2012 Mars Curiosity rover mission and the Curiosity’s successful landing on Mars. Now, nearly a year and a half later, scientists across the nation are still using the Space Age technology to study our neighboring planet.

SKC professor Tim Olson has been involved with the project for almost a decade. During last week’s visit from Rep. Steve Daines, Olson explained that the main scientific discovery the team has made thus far is that long ago Mars was more Earth-like.

“Our big science result is we have found really strong evidence that early in Mars’ history it was much more Earth-like,” Olson said. “There was a lake at the floor of this crater and a river that came flowing down off the crater walls carrying water down. The chemistry of the water was such that probably if there were humans there, they could have drank the water.”

Olson said the water was benign and would have been very conducive for microorganisms to grow.

Throughout the last five or six years, Olson said there have been over half a dozen SKC students who have worked on the project, including current student Noel Stewart who accompanied Olson to California to work on the project for three months last year.

While the Mars mission is far from over, Olson and his students are working on another NASA funded project. The team of nine students and four faculty mentors are creating a CubeSat to send up into orbit by this time next year. CubeSats are small satellites in the shape of a cube 10 centimeters on a side that universities, government agencies, and private businesses utilize for low-cost access to Earth orbit. NASA has selected SKC’s BisonSat to launch in December of 2014.

Print Article

Read More Lifestyle

(No heading)

July 12, 2018 at 2:25 pm | Lake County Leader Erika and Lillian Dantler ride their Tennessee Walking Horse Rainy during the Polson parade to celebrate the Fourth of July. ...

Comments

Read More

(No heading)

July 12, 2018 at 2:25 pm | Lake County Leader Polson Flathead Historical Museum hosted their ever-popular ice cream social after the Fourth of July parade through downtown Polson. Above, serving up delicious Wilcoxsen’s ice cream are, from left...

Comments

Read More

(No heading)

July 12, 2018 at 2:23 pm | Lake County Leader Fireworks filled the sky all night long over Flathead Lake and River on the Fourth of July and beyond. The burst below is from the Polson Chamber of Commerce fireworks display. ...

Comments

Read More

(No heading)

July 12, 2018 at 2:24 pm | Lake County Leader Patriotic Alysis Manley of Post Falls, Idaho, enjoyed a treat during the Polson Flathead Historical Museum ice cream social on Independence Day. ...

Comments

Read More

Contact Us

(406) 883-4343
PO BOX 1090
Polson, MT 59860

©2018 Lake County Leader Terms of Use Privacy Policy
X
X