A JHU scientist came up with an ingenious way to help Mars Curiosity Rover measure gravity - Technical.ly Baltimore

Sciences

Jan. 31, 2019 5:42 pm

A JHU scientist came up with an ingenious way to help Mars Curiosity Rover measure gravity

"Curiosity, essentially, has a new science instrument six and a half years into its mission," said Johns Hopkins University professor Kevin Lewis.

The Mars Curiosity Rover.

(Image: NASA / JPL-CALTECH / MSSS)

Since 2012, Mars Curisoity Rover has been exploring the planet’s Gale Crater. In that time, the tools onboard NASA’s car-sized planetary exploration vehicle have been collecting lots of data to study biological, climate and geologic aspects of Mars.

With all of the tools onboard, scientists recently found a new use for the rover: measuring gravity from the surface of the planet.

They did so by utilizing accelerometers, a more precise version of navigation tools that are also in smartphones. A team that includes Johns Hopkins University professor Kevin Lewis was able to recalibrate the accelerometers onboard Curiosity to be used for gravimetry, or the measurement of small changes in gravitational fields. Results of the measurements were published on Thursday in the journal ScienceThe group of authors on the paper also included Nicholas Schmerr from the University of Maryland, College Park.

“Curiosity, essentially, has a new science instrument six and a half years into its mission,” Lewis, an assistant professor in Johns Hopkins University’s Earth and Planetary Sciences department, told the JHU Hub. “This allows us to get new information about the subsurface of Mars in ways the rover was never designed to do.”

The measurements can be conducted from a satellite in orbit, but the smallest changes require ground-based readings. Lewis and team were able to take the measurements as Curiosity climbed the 5-km. Mt. Sharp. Essentially, the rover measured the weight of the mountain.

Advertisement

According to the Hub, it’s the first time surface gravity measurements have been taken on a planet other than our own.

The results showed that Gale Crater contains low-density rock, which suggests the crater floor was not once buried under rock as scientists have theorized.

Here on Earth, we’ve seen a number of hackathon participants find unexpected uses for accelerometers, but making a discovery on Mars is by far the most impressive example.

-30-
JOIN THE COMMUNITY, BECOME A MEMBER
Already a member? Sign in here
Connect with companies from the Technical.ly community
New call-to-action

Advertisement

What Digital Harbor made for the Apollo moon landing anniversary

JHU Applied Physics Lab’s Dragonfly drone is heading to Saturn’s largest moon

With partnership, Morgan State is bringing open content platform to campus

SPONSORED

Baltimore

How law firm Nemphos Braue is guiding startups along the new business learning curve

Remote

Crossbeam

Senior Software Engineer

Apply Now
Baltimore, MD 21201

14 West

Junior Database Administrator

Apply Now
Baltimore, MD

SmartLogic

Account Executive (Baltimore)

Apply Now

SeaPerch Challenge 2019 brought students’ underwater robots to the University of Maryland

JHU’s 21st Century Cities is providing funding for urban research projects

Baltimore third grader Paxton Summers won a worldwide NASA coding challenge

SPONSORED

Baltimore

Building a data acquisition system? Don’t make this mistake

Baltimore

SchoolDuels

Vice President of Business Development

Apply Now
Baltimore

emocha Mobile Health

Software Engineer

Apply Now
Baltimore

RackTop Systems

API Guru

Apply Now

Sign-up for daily news updates from Technical.ly Baltimore

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!