Life on Mars?

Could Mars ever have supported life? The rover Curiosity may reveal the answer, and two University of Tennessee scientists will be among those directing the rover’s experiments.

Linda Kah and Jeffrey Moersch, associate professors of earth and planetary sciences at UT Knoxville, are part of a NASA team working on the Curiosity rover, which should land on Mars Aug. 6. The UTK researchers will help select targets for the rover as it tests soils and rocks to determine whether the planet’s environment was capable of supporting microbial life.

Curiosity is a mobile, nuclear-powered laboratory with 10 scientific instruments to collect and analyze soil and rock samples. Mars is an eventual destination for astronauts.