Video: Professor Darby Dyar discusses Mars research.

By Keely Savoie

Mount Holyoke College Professor of Astronomy Darby Dyar studies how planets evolve and how planetary geology changes over time. In this video, she discusses her research and how she involves students in her work.

Dyar is part of a team examining and analyzing data gathered from Mars probe Curiosity’s ChemCam. ChemCam fires lasers at targeted rocks, creating a flash of light that can be analyzed with a spectrometer to determine what the rocks are made of.

In her Mount Holyoke lab, Dyar and her students create synthetic rocks  to further the understanding of how the minerals respond to different conditions.

The work is part of a new initiative that will “benefit the field of planetary science … for years to come,” says Dyar. Read about her recent TEDxSpringfield talk.