Sunday Science: the MAVEN Mission to Mars

Jared Espley presenting a lecture on "The Case of the Missing Martian Atmosphere", Sunday, Oct. 20th, in the David M. Brown Planetarium. Credit: Kathi Overton.

Our October weekend, organized around the theme of a "Mission to Mars", was capped off this afternoon by our Sunday Science lecture by Dr. Jared Espley (NASA/GSFC), all about … well… a mission to Mars! We learned about the evidence for the ancient Mars having both an atmosphere and liquid water over large portions of its surface, and about the fossil traces of its planetary magnetic field. We explored the various geological events which may have caused this planet to become the dry, dusty, barren, and cold world we see now. And we learned about the cometary "impact" in 2014 in which the entire planet will be enveloped in the coma of comet Siding Spring. Will any of the spacecraft currently in orbit survive this encounter? That remains to be seen! But one thing we learned today for certain: Jared Espley is a great science presenter!

Members of the Friends with the October Sunday Science speaker, Dr. Jared Espley. Credit: Kathi Overton.