John Grotzinger, project manager for NASA's Mars Science Laboratory, revealed another Arizona link to the journey about to commence for the rover Curiosity, which landed on Mars Sunday.
Grotzinger, talking to Ira Flatow on NPR's "Science Friday," said the rover's coming exploration of the stratigraphy — the geologic layers — on the looming mound known as Mount Sharp, is akin to an earlier voyage of discovery in the Grand Canyon.
John Wesley Powell, the geologist who explored the Grand Canyon by boat beginning in 1869, demonstrated how you could read the geologic history of the Four Corners region in the layers of rock exposed in the canyon walls.
Curiosity, using the ten instruments it carries, will do much the same thing when it roves up to the walls of Mount Sharp.
You can hear Grotzinger's conversation with Flatow at the Science Friday Web site.