Searching for life outside of Earth: NASA's Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover Mission
Speaker: Chris Herd, University of Alberta
December 1, 2020
11:00 am- 12:00 pm Mountain Time
The GoToWebinar link will be emailed two days in advance of the webinar.
CSPG member: $30.00 +gst
Non-member: $45.00 +gst
Please note: Registration closes November 30th at 12:00 pm Mountain Time
The Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover Mission launched on July 30, 2020 and is currently more than halfway on its journey to Mars. The rover, which will land at Mars’ Jezero Crater on February 18, 2021, is the most capable of its kind ever sent to the Red Planet; it will explore rocks that were formed more than three and a half billion years ago as a river flowed into Jezero Crater.
Not only will the rover enable the study of the rocks from Mars—including looking for hints of ancient life—it will collect more than 20 samples of rock and soil, which will be sealed and left on the surface for later return to Earth. Perseverance is the first step in bringing samples back from Mars—with the ultimate goal of finding out if life ever evolved outside of the Earth.
Christopher Herd is a professor in the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Alberta, and a geologist who studies the planets and moons of the Solar System as understood mainly through meteorites. He is the curator of the University of Alberta Meteorite Collection—the largest university-based meteorite collection in Canada—and an internationally-recognized expert in meteorites from Mars. He is a member of the science team for the NASA Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover mission; Herd’s role on the mission is as a specialist in the analysis of returned samples; in this role he will be involved in helping to choose the rocks that will one day be returned to Earth.