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NASA names a mountain on Mars as a tribute to the Mexican scientist


Rafael Navarro González was a leading Mexican researcher at the Institute of Nuclear Sciences (ICN) at the Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). He was involved in developing the team Sample analysis on Mars (SAM), a portable laboratory that analyzes the chemistry of rocks, soil and air in space. Unfortunately, he lost his life after catching COVID-19 in January this year. So, NASA will name a mountain on Mars in his honor.

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Rafael Navarro was a leader in the study of astrobiology and identified the role of volcanic lightning in the origin of life on earth.

NASA names a mountain on Mars as a tribute to the Mexican scientist
NASA names a mountain on Mars as a tribute to the Mexican scientist

According to the UNAM GazettePaul Mahaffy, head of the NASA group and primary sponsor of the mountain naming initiative, is located northwest of Gale Crater near Mount Sharp. That’s where the robot works curiosity which reached the red planet in 2012.

“We have decided that this is a great way to honor our colleague and friend Rafael Navarro González. There were three options for objects, we talked to Fabiola (her Epsosa), her daughter, and her brother about it, and they decided it could be. We know that the official names for objects in space are given by the International Astronomical Union, but we believe that with this initiative the name can be formed more quickly, ”comments the scientist.

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The region on the red planet is rich in clays and mineral sulfates that can help better understand changes in climate and current conditions. The location will be crucial for curiosity missions, explains Ashwin Vasavada, a scientist from NASA’s Jet Propulsion laboratory.

“Rafael was a good friend and committed scientist, and it was a privilege and an honor for the Mars exploration team to work with him for several years.”added NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center specialist Mahaffy.

Image: UNAM Gazette

His career at UNAM and the Sciences

Rafael graduated from the Faculty of Natural Sciences at UNAM and then went on to study postgraduate degrees at the University of Meryland, USA, but eThe love of the study house made him return to Mexico to give back a little knowledge.

According to AnimalMX, Rafel Navarro and other scientists were winners after making the proposal to NASA Sample analysis of Mars. You have been working on the project since 2004. He studied the Pico de Orizaba, which could serve as a reference for Mars if the atmosphere were “terraform”, that is, it would make it a place where people can breathe.

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