Driver of Curiosity Mars rover to field questions from the public in RSC exclusive link up


05 September 2012

NASA put chemistry on Mars and now the Royal Society of Chemistry is offering the public an exclusive behind-the-scenes insight into the Curiosity Mars rover's mission, via a live online exchange with rover driver Paolo Bellutta.

Bellutta, one of the 'robot chemist' drivers, will join the RSC live from Pasadena, on Friday 7 September at 1600 BST for a question-and-answer session to be broadcast on the RSC YouTube channel.

Members of the public can submit their questions for Paolo through Twitter, Facebook, Google+ or via email (details below).

Signor Belluta works at the legendary Jet Propulsion Laboratory, where he has been handling the Mars Exploration Rovers Spirit and Opportunity since 2003.

Curiosity is equipped with 180lb of scientific instruments to support its mission to find evidence that Mars may have supported life.

One of these instruments is called ChemCam, which will analyse the elemental composition of rocks and soil on the Martian surface.

In 2007, five years before Curiosity embarked on its mission, the RSC published a study by scientists working on the Mars Science Laboratory that assessed the best analytical methods for ChemCam to use to identify Martian rocks and determine the elements present in them.

Now, to celebrate Curiosity's important chemistry mission, the RSC is making this paper, published in the Journal of Analytical Atomic Spectroscopy (JAAS), available free on the RSC website until the end of September.

The RSC also has free education resources available through Learn Chemistry to help budding space scientists understand the spectroscopic methods ChemCam is using to investigate the Martian surface.

How to take part

Join in the live chat with NASA and submit your questions using the social links or email Chiara Ceci.

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Related Links

Link icon Feasibility study of rock identification at the surface of Mars by remote laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy and three chemometric methods
This paper from the Journal of Analytical Atomic Spectrscopy (JAAS), is available for free from RSC Publishing until 30 September 2012

Link icon SpectraSchool
A free education resource for spectroscopy and spectrometry, available from the RSC through Learn Chemistry. SpectraSchool offers a range of resources designed to help in the understanding of the principles and practice of spectroscopic and spectrometric methods


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Contact and Further Information

Chiara Ceci
Communications Executive
Royal Society of Chemistry, Thomas Graham House, Science Park, Milton Road, Cambridge CB4 0WF
Tel: +44 (0)1223 432492





Victoria Steven
Media Relations Executive
Royal Society of Chemistry, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London W1J 0BA
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7440 3322