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

Mar 29, 2018
4:10 PM - 5:30 PM

Lewis Lab - 270
16 Memorial Walk East
Bethlehem PA 18015

Emily Mailhot

Join Lehigh’s Society of Physics Students and Astronomy Club for a lecture by Professor Steven Squyres, the James A. Weeks Professor of Physical Sciences at Cornell and an influential figure in the field of planetary science. Particularly noteworthy is his longtime involvement in NASA’s planetary exploration missions, which spans from the Voyager mission (launched 1977) to the Curiosity rover (launched 2011). In this talk, Professor Squyres will focus on the 14 year-long – and ongoing – mission of the Spirit and Opportunity rovers, for which he was the Principal Investigator for the science payload.

Originally planned to last 90 days, the MER mission that launched and landed Spirit and Opportunity on the surface of Mars continues to this day. Professor Squyres will summarize that mission’s development, launch, landing, and operations. In so doing, he will address the extraordinary challenges that MER’s team of over 4,000 engineers and scientists had to overcome as well as the incredibly tight schedule imposed on them by the motion of the planets. He will also discuss highlights of the data collected by Spirit and Opportunity, including Spirit’s discovery of evidence for ancient Martian hot springs and Opportunity’s ongoing exploration of the 25-kilometer-wide Endeavor crater. Any individual with an interest in planetary exploration, or in this historic and continuing mission, is encouraged to attend.

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