"Our friend and colleague, Dr. David S. McKay, passed away peacefully in his sleep in the early morning hours yesterday, 20 February 2013. David had been battling serious health problems for some time, especially cardiac issues this past year or so. He was 77. .. Of course, he was the lead author on the 1996 paper in Science on the ALH84001 martian orthopyroxenite, arguing that it contains evidence for life on Mars. Although that claim was highly controversial, there can be no question that the appearance of that paper sparked significant changes in martian and planetary science, shaped the direction of the Mars Exploration Program to the present day, and prompted the establishment of the NASA Astrobiology Institute."
Space & Planetary Science: February 2013 Archives
NASA: Red Planet looks a little gray inside, USA Today
"This is the first time any robot has drilled into a rock on another planet," says mission sample chief Louise Jandura of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, Calif."
Luna 16, WIkipedia
"At perilune at 05:12 UT on 20 September , the main braking engine was fired, initiating the descent to the lunar surface. ... Less than an hour after landing, at 06:03 UT, an automatic drill penetrated the lunar surface to collect a soil sample. After drilling for 7 minutes, the drill reached a stop at 35 centimeters depth and then withdrew its sample and lifted it in an arc to the top of the spacecraft, depositing the lunar material in a small spherical capsule mounted on the main spacecraft bus."
Keith's note: So, is this JPL statement about the whole (increasingly pointless) "planet" Vs "moon" or a "rock> Vs "soil (regolith)" definition issue - or are they actually unaware of what Luna 16 (and 20) did 40+ years ago?
Curiosity Rover Drilling Debate, earlier post
Keith's note: NASA has decided who is on their Mars 2020 rover Science Definition Team. No press release however. Isn't it a bit odd that SMD uses a bull horn to tell everyone who was not selected, but can't be bothered to tell the public who was selected. I have to wonder if SMD actually has a PAO strategy these days. I have seen little evidence thereof these days.
NASA SMD Uses a Bullhorn to Say 'No Thanks', Earlir post
"NASA SMD sent this "thanks but no thanks" email to everyone who offered their services to the 2020 Mars rover Science Definition Team - but were turned down. SMD made sure to let everyone on the list see everyone else's name/email addresses. Class act."
"However, the 2020 Rover Science Definition Team is just now being formed and will not be far enough into its deliberations to give a meaningful out-brief in February."
"Delays in the federal budget process prompted us to cancel the two-day physical meeting previously scheduled February 26-27 for the Washington, DC area and to replace it with this half-day electronic meeting."