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Walking around the virtual surface of Mars

Narrator:       This is Science Today. As NASA's Curiosity Rover explores Mars for signs of life, geologist Dawn Sumner of the University of California, Davis, has been walking around a virtual surface of the Red Planet studying its rocks using 3-D software technology.

Sumner:        One of the reasons I'm really interested in going to Mars is to try and understand what the early Earth was like. The nice thing about virtual data is you can put anything you want in here and I'm interested in looking at data from Mars. 

Narrator:       Sumner is part of the Mars Science Laboratory and helped NASA determine where to land the Curiosity Rover to look for signs of water in ancient rocks.

Sumner:        There's this huge sense of adventure and excitement, seeing a new place, a place where no human being has ever seen anything before until we get those pictures down.  When you reach out beyond Earth and try to understand things, it puts our own lives in perspective nicely.

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