WWU astronomer to hype Mars rover exploration from mission control

Brad Snowder, manager of Western Washington University’s Planetarium, will join a NASA team of 25 social-networking mission specialists to publicize the Aug. 5 landing of the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity Rover.

Snowder will spend three days at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.  He will be in the lab’s mission control center during the entry, descent and landing of the rover. While there, he will create live mission status updates on Facebook, Twitter, Google +, personal blogs and other online networks.

“I’m still in a little bit of shock,” said Snowder, who refers to himself as a “space geek,” according to a press release.

The Mars mission will study whether the Gale Crater area of the planet has ever supported habitable environments. It is part of a larger study of the Martian surface and atmosphere.

Snowder has managed the WWU Planetarium since 1995. He also teaches astronomy at WWU and at Whatcom Community College.

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