CHRISTOPHER MCKAY US
Planetary Scientist with the Space Science Division of NASA Ames
Sunday, 22 September, 18:00-19:00, Auditorium
The Special Lecture 2013 will be dedicated to astrobiology and will discuss the prerequisites for life and the possibility of life beyond earth.
The search for life on other planets, with an update from the Mars Curiosity Rover
Mars Curiosity Rover has been operating on Mars for over 1 earth year. I will present our current status on the search for organics in the soil and the prospects for determining the habitability of the site. If we find organics on Mars, the next challenge will be to determine if they are of biological or non-biological origin. There are other worlds in the Solar System that are also of keen interest in the search for life: my favorite is Enceladus, a small moon of Saturn.
Chris is a research scientist with the NASA Ames Research Center. His current research focuses on the evolution of the solar system and the origin of life. He is also actively involved in planning for future Mars missions including human exploration. Chris been involved in research in Mars-like environments on Earth, traveling to the Antarctic dry valleys, Siberia, the Canadian Arctic, and the Atacama, Namib, & Sahara deserts to study life in these Mars-like environments. He was a co-investigator on the Huygens probe to Saturn’s moon Titan in 2005, the Mars Phoenix lander mission in 2008, and the current Mars Science Laboratory mission (2012).