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(L-r) Dr. Noureddine Melikechi, dean of the College of Mathematics, Natural Sciences and Technology, and optics doctoral student Alissa Mezzacappa have been included in NASA's Group Achievement Award in recognition of the ChemCam Team's work on the Mars Curiosity Rover mission.

  DSU Dean and Doctoral Student Recognized by NASA

As members of NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory ChemCam Instrument Development & Science Team, DSU’s Dr. Noureddine Melikechi and doctoral student Ms. Alissa Mezzacappa have received one of NASA’s Highest Honor Awards – the Group Achievement Award. 
The ChemCam team has received this award “For exceptional achievement defining ChemCam’s scientific goals and requirements, developing the instrument and investigation, and operating ChemCam successfully on Mars.”
This NASA Honor Award is presented to a number of carefully selected teams who have distinguished themselves by making outstanding contributions to the NASA mission.
Dr. Melikechi, dean of the College of Mathematics, Natural Sciences and Technology, as well as vice president for Research, Innovation and Economic Development, along with Ms. Mezzacappa, a Ph.D. candidate in optics, have been active members of the ChemCam team and have assisted in the analysis of data sent back from the Curiosity Rover that has been on Mars since August 2012.
The ChemCam (Chemistry and Camera suite), one of 10 instruments on the Curiosity, is being used to study the soil and rocks at each place the rover stops. The ChemCam shoots an infrared laser – more than a million watts of power – at various rock surfaces on the planet. The resulting light is read by the unit’s spectrometer and the data is sent back to earth.