Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Looking for Life on Mars… and other places

On Monday, November 18th at 7pm, Crowell Library will be honored to present Professor MAX COLEMAN, Senior Research Scientist from NASA/Cal Tech with a lecture on how the agency is searching for life on other planets. It is likely that the Earth's surface was habitable shortly after its formation just over 4.5 billion years ago. Microbial life dominated the Earth until just over half a billion years ago and signs of microbial activity are the prime targets of exploration for life on Mars. Amazingly, exhaled “breath” of microorganisms is one of the best signs of life, preserved in minerals and recognized by its composition. Until samples can be return to Earth, instruments must fly to Mars for analysis. Examples will be shown of how laboratory analytical instruments are miniaturized spectacularly (by factors of a thousand) and adapted for flight to Mars. Professor Coleman’s presentation will involve practical demonstrations as well as audiovisual material.

Max Coleman's training combined chemistry, geology and isotope geochemistry at London and Leeds Universities, but he found that he needed to encompass microbiology too when studying sedimentary rocks. He has applied multidisciplinary fundamental scientific research to elicit solutions to practical problems in petroleum exploration and production, environmental pollution, radioactive waste storage and forensic science. He now uses the same approaches to search for life on other planets. For ten years he ran a national isotope analysis facility at the British Geological Survey. In 2003, Professor Coleman was enticed to join the NASA Jet Propulsion Lab, Caltech, and became Director of the Center for Life Detection and Leader of the Astrobiology Research Group.
Light refreshments will be served. Please join us for this free program, courtesy of our friends at NASA/Cal Tech.
The more the merrier! Share this event on Facebook & Twitter.

For more information, visit our website