As part of the 13th annual Silicon Valley Astronomy Lecture Series, Planetary Scientist Lori Fenton, Ph.D., of the Carl Sagan Center at the SETI Institute, will discuss Being a Mars Rover: What It's Like on the Surface of Mars, an illustrated, non-technical lecture, Wednesday, May 15, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. in the Smithwick Theatre at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills. Admission is free and the public is invited. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. Arrive early to locate parking.
On Aug. 6, 2012, many people around the world gathered around TVs and computers to await news of NASA’s latest mission to Mars. The complex, yet flawless landing of the rover Curiosity led to worldwide acclaim. What has NASA’s youngest robot been up to since then, and what has it discovered? Where on Mars did it land and why was that site chosen above all others? Dr. Fenton will give an overview of the rover’s capabilities, accomplishments, and plans on Mars and describe what it's really like on the surface of the red planet.
Fenton joined the SETI Institute as a principal investigator in 2006, and was awarded NASA’s Carl Sagan Fellowship for Early Career Researchers that same year. Her primary research interests include how wind shapes a planetary surface (with work on Venus, Earth, Mars and Titan); recent and ongoing climate change; and the movement of wind-blown sand and dust on a planet like Mars.
The free lecture series is sponsored by the Foothill College Astronomy Program, NASA Ames Research Center, SETI Institute and Astronomical Society of the Pacific. Past lectures from the series are available online at www.astrosociety.org/education/podcast/index.html. A number of past Silicon Valley Astronomy Lectures are now available free on YouTube on the series' own channel at http://www.youtube.com/user/SVAstronomyLectures/.
Parking lots 1, 7 and 8 provide stair and no-stair access to the theatre. Visitors must purchase a parking permit for $3 from dispensers in any student parking lot. Dispensers accept one-dollar bills and quarters. Foothill College is located off I-280 on El Monte Road in Los Altos Hills. For more information, access www.foothill.edu or call (650) 949-7888.