The Red Planet, Mars, has always held our fascination, more so than any other planet. The very word ‘Mars’ conjures up visions of Martians as well as great voyages of exploration in our imagination. What was once a distant, mysterious, cinnamon colored orb in our night sky is now literally a New World that we are currently exploring with rovers and landers on the surface and orbiters from above. Arizona scientists are playing a very important role in many of these missions. These robotic missions are the pathfinders for future human missions. And at some point humans will make Mars our second home in the Solar System. This presentation will discuss the major discoveries that have been, and are now being made about Mars by our robotic missions. This program discusses the dangers, challenges and plans for human missions to the Red Planet.
Dr. James Rice, is an Astrogeologist with over 30 years research experience specializing in the exploration of the Solar System, especially the Moon and Mars. His career includes working for NASA, The Astrogeology Headquarters of the United States Geological Survey, the Mars Spaceflight Facility (ASU), and the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory (UA). He has a PhD from Arizona State University, MS from the University of Louisiana and BS from the University of Alabama.
Currently, Rice is a Senior Scientist and Geology Team Leader on the NASA Mars Exploration Rover Project (Spirit and Opportunity). Rice trained and briefed NASA astronauts in geology and Mars exploration. He has been a leader and team member on numerous international geological field expeditions around the world including a 6 month long NASA/Russian expedition to Antarctica. This work included being a member of the SCUBA diving team to first investigate the perennially frozen lakes of eastern Antarctica. Rice served on numerous NASA Science Analysis Groups for manned missions back to the Moon and Mars. He received numerous NASA Moon and Mars Mission Achievement Awards and was inducted into the inaugural class of the United Space Camp Hall of Fame.