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Department of Physics

26th Annual Bunyan Lecture 

Professor Steve Squyres of Cornell University
Free public lecture:

"Roving Mars: Spirit, Opportunity, and the Exploration of the Red Planet"

Wednesday, February 6, 2008
7:30pm, Hewlett Auditorium room 201

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.  http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/home/index.html

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" http://kipac.stanford.edu/collab/seminars/acks/
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 Rover Mission.

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 Saturn.
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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