Monday, May 2
Showtime: 7:00 PM
Chautauqua Community HouseSold Out
NASA’s MAVEN (Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN) mission set out to figure out how Mars could have lost 99 percent of its atmosphere – a change that transformed Mars from a warm, wet and possibly habitable world, to a cold dry desert planet inhabited solely by robots. So, after more than a year and more than 2000 Mars orbits, are we ready to travel there yet?
This evening’s talk, presented by Nick Schneider, the lead of MAVEN’s Remote Sensing Team, will recap MAVEN’s primary mission and its findings about how the Sun and solar wind have stripped away Mars’ atmosphere over billions of years. Schneider will also share some inside stories of the adventures this Colorado spacecraft has had along the way: a near miss with a comet, a spectacular meteor shower, some strange aurora, daring “deep dips” skimming through the atmosphere – and probably a thing or two about the newest discoveries.
The Remote Sensing Team on NASA’s MAVEN mission to Mars operates the Imaging Ultraviolet Spectrograph which has already started obtaining the best ultraviolet images and spectra of Mars. Schneider is also a faculty member in the Department of Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and holds a research appointment in CU’s Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics. He received the National Science Foundation’s Presidential Young Investigator Award in 1991 and recently received the Teaching Excellence Award from the Boulder Faculty Assembly. With CU graduates Jeff Bennett, Megan Donahue, and Mark Voit, he co-authored the most widely-used textbook in astronomy, “The Cosmic Perspective.”