Presented by KUNC
Doors: 7:00 PM
Showtime: 7:30 PM
Much like Chautauqua itself, Than Putzig was born and raised in New York State before moving to Colorado, and he now lives in Golden. He studied geophysics at Colorado School of Mines, Rice University, and the University of Colorado at Boulder. Fascinated by the planets since childhood, Than has been investigating the geology, climate, and resources of Mars with radar, thermal, and other spacecraft data for over 20 years. He is currently a Senior Scientist at the Lakewood, Colorado office of the Planetary Science Institute, which he helped establish in 2016. Than serves as the US Team Leader for the Shallow Radar (SHARAD) sounder onboard NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter mission, which has been returning vast amounts of data from the Red Planet since 2006.
Than Putzig will discuss work they are doing to explore the surface and subsurface of Mars with data from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) and other spacecraft. Many of the results he’ll show are from MRO’s SHARAD instrument, which has played a crucial role in these efforts by probing into the subsurface to illuminate the interior structure of the polar caps, mid-latitude glaciers, and other terrains. While most of this work is oriented toward understanding the geologic and climate history of Mars for scientific purposes, he’s also been co-leading a team of investigators on a NASA project to map buried ice as a potential resource for future human missions to the Martian surface, where the ice would enable the generation of water, oxygen, and fuel to sustain astronauts and enable their return to Earth.