Mars 2020: The Search for a Fossil Record

CSU Chico Mars Society Speaker Series




What:  Mars 2020: The Search for a Fossil Record


When: Tuesday, October 7th, 2014 at 6:00pm


Where: Holt 170



Dr. Russell S. Shapiro


Professor and Chair, Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences

Panel Chief of Biosignatures, Mars 2020 mission

The Mars 2020 mission is the next step in NASA’s Mars Exploration Program to study the red planet. Building on the technological success of Curiosity, the flagship rover of the Mars Science Laboratory, the next mission will employ the next generation of tools to assess the habitability of ancient Mars and look for evidence of preserved ancient life. Another goal of Mars 2020 will be to test technologies that will lead to later human exploration.

But what evidence will prove to a skeptical populace that life once existed on Mars and was preserved for perhaps billions of years? What are the new technologies that will be employed to search for answers to this fundamental question?

This presentation will provide a detailed overview of the Mars 2020 mission in the context of NASA’s historical exploration program, discuss the new technologies selected for the mission, and address the challenges for establishing the evidence for life on Mars, preserving fossils in the Martian surface, and recognizing habitability and organic signatures from a rover’s perspective.


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