The Astronomy Program is excited to host the upcoming 26th Annual
Bunyan Lecture on Wednesday, February 6, 2008 at 7:30pm at Hewlett
Teaching Center #201 Auditorium. This is a free and public
lecture. Our speaker will be Professor Steve Squyres of Cornell
University. His lecture will be entitled, "Roving Mars: Spirit,
Opportunity, and the Exploration of the Red Planet". We
hope you attend to learn about his participation and discoveries in
NASA's Mars Exploration Rover (MER) Mission.
26th Annual Bunyan Lecture
Professor Steve Squyres of Cornell
Free public lecture:
Opportunity, and the Exploration of the Red Planet"
Wednesday, February 6, 2008
Auditorium room 201
Below is some information about his talk and the ACKS seminar to be
held on Thursday, February 7, 2008 at 4pm in Gates B12 Conference Room.
entitled, "Science Results from the Mars Exploration Rover Mission"
The two Mars exploration rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, touched down
on Mars in January 2004 and have been conducting extensive observations
with the Athena science payload. Together the two rovers have traversed
~16 km. Spirit, located on the floor of Gusev crater, has investigated
basaltic plains, as well as older materials in the Columbia Hills. The
rocks of the Columbia Hills are largely clastic in nature and range
from breccias to finely laminated deposits that have undergone
significant aqueous alteration. They appear to be largely a mixture of
altered impact ejecta and explosive volcanic materials. Recently,
Spirit has discovered silica-rich deposits that may have formed in a
hot spring or fumarole environment. Opportunity has carried out the
first outcrop-scale investigation of ancient sedimentary rocks on Mars.
The rocks are sandstones formed by wind and water erosion and
re-deposition of fine grained siliciclastics and sulfate-rich
evaporites. The stratigraphic section observed to date is dominated by
eolian bedforms, with subaqueous current ripples exposed locally near
the top of the section. While liquid water was present at Meridiani
below and occasionally at the surface, the ancient environmental
conditions recorded there are dominantly arid, acidic and oxidizing,
and would have posed some significant challenges to life.
Please join us to learn the latest developments of the Mars Exploration
Professor Squyres biographical information is below:
Steven W. Squyres is Goldwin Smith Professor of Astronomy at Cornell
University, and is the Principal Investigator for the science payload
on the Mars Exploration Rover Project. He received his Ph.D. from
Cornell in 1981 and spent five years as a postdoctoral associate and
research scientist at NASA’s Ames Research Center before returning to
Cornell as a faculty member. His main areas of scientific
interest have been Mars and the moons of the outer planets.
Research for which he is best known includes study of the history and
distribution of water on Mars and of the possible existence and
habitability of a liquid water ocean on Europa.
Dr. Squyres has participated in many of NASA’s planetary exploration
missions, including the Voyager mission to Jupiter and Saturn, the
Magellan mission to Venus, and the Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous
mission. Along with his current work on MER, he is also a
co-investigator on the 2003 Mars Express, 2005 Mars Reconnaissance
Orbiter and 2009 Mars Science Laboratory missions, a member of the
Gamma-Ray Spectrometer Flight Investigation Team for the Mars Odyssey
mission, and a member of the imaging team for the Cassini mission to
Dr. Squyres has served as Chair of the NASA Space Science Advisory
Committee and as a member of the NASA Advisory Council. His awards
include the American Astronomical Society’s Harold C. Urey Prize, the
Space Science Award of the American Institute of Aeronautics and
Astronautics, the American Astronautical Society’s Carl Sagan Award,
the National Space Society’s Wernher von Braun Award, and the Benjamin
Franklin Medal of the Franklin Institute. He is a fellow of the
American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
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