Moon Area High School freshmen had the chance to chat with a district alum working for NASA's breakthrough "Curiosity" Mars land rover mission.
Marisa Palucis, a 2000 Moon Area graduate, now works for NASA through the University of California, Berkeley's Department of Earth and Planetary Science.
Palucis fielded students' questions about her role on the Curiosity mission and life working for NASA, via an in-class Skype discussion Wednesday.
Curiosity is the fourth NASA rover to land on the surface of Mars.
In September, the rover located conglomerate rock on the planet's surface, suggesting water once flowed on Mars.
Rounded gravels found on the planet also suggest streams once transported materials along its surface. The mission is in part studying how ancient water flows could have shaped the Red Planet.
Scientists have long hypothesized that water once flowed on Mars, but Curiosity offered the first direct evidence, Palucis said.
Palucis spoke to 40 Moon Area ninth-graders, students in Mrs. Klisavage and Mrs. Martin's science classes, who are studying watersheds.