DAVIS - Based partly on the advice of a UC Davis geologist, the next Mars rover, Curiousity, will land in Gale crater near the Martian equator. The landing site was announced Friday at a press conference at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.
The site was selected based on the "reachable science" nearby, said Dawn Sumner, professor of geology at UC Davis and co-chair of the landing site working group for the Mars Science Laboratory mission.
The goal of the Mars Science Laboratory is to evaluate whether the Martian environment could have (or could now) support life, Sumner said.
"We will learn a huge amount about the Martian environment," Sumner said.
Gale crater was selected based on data from probes in orbit around Mars.