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Seminar: Dr. Dave Des Marais – NASA
November 19, 2021 @ 12:30 pm - 1:30 pm
UNC at Chapel Hill’s Earth, Marine, and Environmental Sciences Department is proud to host a guest seminar by Dr. Dave Des Marais. This event is scheduled for Friday, November 19th, at 12:30 pm. This seminar is both in-person, in room G202 on the ground floor of Venable/Murray Hall on UNC campus in Chapel Hill NC and will be broadcasted live online via Zoom (Meeting ID: 994 3817 3742).
Presenter Affiliation: Principal Investigator at NASA in the Exobiology Branch
Title: Exploring Mars for Evidence of Another Biosphere
Abstract: The climate of Mars more closely resembled Earth’s climate than that of any other body in our solar system. Orbiting cameras and spectrometers have documented the geographic extent of remotely detectable stream channels, lake beds, and aqueous minerals. Advances in rover exploration were hard-won by long-term survival in harsh conditions and by learning from discoveries and devising new strategies. The Spirit, Opportunity, and Curiosity rovers documented ancient habitable environments that probably persisted on Mars when microbial life flourished on early Earth. By selecting samples for return to Earth, Perseverance rover is taking the next step to determine whether life ever existed on Mars.
Biography: David J. Des Marais is a senior space scientist with NASA’s Astrobiology Program at NASA Ames Research Center. He has studied both living communities of microorganisms and their ancient fossil records. He has investigated the chemistry of carbon in meteorites, lunar samples, and volcanic rocks and ancient sediments on Earth. David is currently a member of the science operations team for NASA’s Curiosity Rover. He has published more than 210 technical articles and chapters on geochemical research and Mars missions. He has been a co-leader of the Lassen Astrobiology Student Intern Program since 2008. David has been elected fellow of six professional societies. The Geochemical Society awarded him the Alfred Treibs Medal for his career achievements in Organic Geochemistry.