The Mars Science Laboratory (Curiosity) Rover and Science Team is the winner of the National Space Society’s Wernher von Braun Memorial Award. This award will be presented at the National Space Society’s 2015 International Space Development Conference (http://isdc.nss.org/2015/). This will be the 34th ISDC and will be held in Toronto, Canada, at the Hyatt Regency Toronto (downtown). The conference will run from May 20-24, 2015.
About the von Braun Award
The von Braun award is given in odd-numbered years to recognize excellence in management of and leadership for a space-related project where the project is significant and successful and the manager has the loyalty of a strong team. The award was originally proposed in 1992 by National Space Society Awards Committee member Frederick I. Ordway III, a close associate of and co-author with Wernher von Braun. More information about the von Braun Award and past recipients can be found on the NSS awards page.
About the MSL Curiosity Rover Team
The von Braun Award recognizes the team’s success in conducting over two years of highly significant science operations including drillings at multiple sites in Gale crater. Results so far include discovery of two different ancient aqueous environments on Mars. One of these was found in sedimentary rock, made up of fine-grained mudstone containing clay and sulfate minerals. This was near an ancient stream bed, which contained water-worn rocks and may have flowed about a foot deep. The chemically-mild environment at this site could have supported ancient microbial life on Mars. The rover has also found low but variable levels of atmospheric methane, which contributes to the understanding of the Mars atmosphere. In addition, measurements of background radiation taken by the rover contribute to management of hazards for future human explorers. With the rover currently operating at science sites near the base of Mt. Sharp, the mission promises many more important results.