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Phoenix’s Arctic Adventure
Exploring Space Lectures
Presenter: Peter Smith
Thursday, June 3, 2010
Lockheed Martin IMAX Theater
Museum in Washington, DC
6:30 p.m. Free showing of film, Forces of Nature
7:30 p.m. Meet the Lecturer Question and Answer
8:00 p.m. Lecture
The planets and moons of the Solar System are incredibly diverse worlds with histories both ancient and dramatic. Etched into their surfaces is a fascinating story – of fire and ice, of order and upheaval, of great cataclysms and slow change. Volcanism, impact, wind, and water are all common forces that shape these worlds, sometimes in ways familiar to us on Earth, sometimes in ways that amaze us.
In May 2008, the Phoenix spacecraft landed on a northern arctic plain of Mars on a quest to understand the history of water in the planet’s polar regions. After 5 months on the surface, the approaching Martian winter brought about the intrepid explorer’s demise, but not before it found water ice, studied the soil chemistry, and observed a snowfall. Learn what Phoenix taught us about water, climate cycles, and habitability on Mars as we travel with Peter Smith to a polar summer where the sun never sets.
Peter Smith is a Professor in the Department of Planetary Sciences and the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory at the University of Arizona. He is the principal investigator for the Phoenix Mars Lander mission.
The Exploring Space Lectures are made possible by the generous support of NASA and Aerojet.