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NASA to land rover on Mars, with ASU's help

FILE - In this 2011 artist's rendering provided by NASA/JPL-Caltech, the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover examines a rock on Mars. After traveling 8 1/2 months and 352 million miles, Curiosity will attempt a landing on Mars the night of Aug. 5, 2012. (AP Photo/NASA/JPL-Caltech, file)

PHOENIX -- Sunday could be a big day in the history of space exploration.

NASA is expected to land a rover, called Curiosity, on Mars over the weekend, designed to examine environmental conditions that could support life.

"Although the mission is not really designed to detect life, it's designed to detect the likelihood the right kind of environmental conditions to support life," said Kip Hodges, with the Arizona State University School of Earth and Space Explorations.

Hodges said an ASU alumnus will have control of a camera mounted on Curiosity's arm.

"Probably the most dramatic macro camera that's on Curiosity as well," he said. "We have lots of current faculty, students and alumni who are heavily involved with this particular mission."

Curiosity will be lowered onto Mars by a type of sky crane that acts like a bungee cord, something Hodges said has not been used before on other rover missions.

Hodges said the success of the current mission could put ASU in line for future missions of space exploration.

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About the Author


Martha is the traffic controller in the KTAR newsroom. Her full time role is that of Assignment and Breaking News Editor of KTAR News. She oversees daily Breaking News planning and over-the air execution, and puts together the elements that make it happen. She gathers and distributes daily news assignments to reporters and editors. She also reports on a daily basis, anchors news afternoons 1-2p and fills in as anchor occasionally during other time slots. She began working at KTAR in the winter of 2012 as Desk Editor and was promoted to oversee Assignments and Breaking News in 2014. During that time, she received two awards as a journalist. The first was the 2013 APTRA Awards, where she took home 2nd place for Best Serious Future in the "Recycled Orchestra." The second was a 2014 Edward R. Murrow Award for her collaboration in KTAR's Voice for a Better Arizona Series: Immigration - seeking solutions. In her piece, Martha profiled two Arizona sisters looking for the DREAM. Martha was born in Mazatlan, Mexico. She moved to Arizona in 1996 with her parents and younger sister and has lived here since. She attended Barry Goldwater High School in Phoenix and graduated from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications at Arizona State University in Tempe. Prior to working at KTAR news she worked in news and production at Univision Arizona in Phoenix. She also supervised the marketing, catering and public relations department at Hotel Araiza, 5-star hotel in Mexicali, Mexico. She has also been a personal trainer and aerobics instructor. When she isn't in the newsroom or behind the microphone Martha is an avid gym-goer and marathoner. She trains for two races a year and enjoys taking group exercise classes, such as kickboxing, indoor cycling and weight lifting. Martha is married and lives in Surprise, AZ with 2 dogs, Tasha and Elsa, and a cat, Sammy.

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