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Geologist advises on Mars landing site


Narrator:       This is Science Today. A geologist from the University of California, Davis, is helping NASA determine where their next rover mission to Mars will land when it arrives on the red planet in 2012. Dawn Sumner is part of the landing site working group for the Mars Science Laboratory mission.

Sumner:        It's a very exciting project. We'll be landing at a new spot on Mars and we have a suite of instruments that allow us to launch some investigations we've never done on a planet before. The 3-D visualization center gives you an immersive environment, which means that it renders virtual data in three dimensions, so when you are in that environment, you can interact with data or other planets. And as we get closer to launch and then as we land, I'll be doing a lot to interpret images and trying to understand the environment and the processes that cause the formation of the rocks we'll be seeing on Mars.

Narrator:       For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.