Presentation by Professor Paulo de Souza
QVMAG – Inveresk meeting room
Sunday, 26th August 2012 Commencing 2.30 pm until 4.30 pm
FREE for Royal Society Members. Small charge for others. RSVP6323 3798
About the Speaker
Professor Paulo de Souza from UTas has been a collaborating scientist of NASA’s Mars Exploration program for more than a decade. His contribution to the program has been recognised with two NASA Achievement Awards. He is a physicist by training, and has a broad background having worked in industry as a researcher for seven years and published over 200 peer-reviewed papers. He is a co-author of a series of papers identified as the Breakthrough of the Year by Science magazine in 2004. Paulo is the Chief Scientist of SenseT Program, a cutting-edge scientific endeavour aiming at bringing social, economic and environmental benefit to Tasmania by supporting informed decision-making in real-time through sensor data sharing. This program is a partnership between UTas, CSIRO, NICTA, IBM, Aurora, among other collaborating organisations.
Brief Abstract of the Talk
The robotic exploration of Mars started in 1997 with Sojourner, a microwave oven size rover that navigated 104m around the lander. The Mars Exploration rovers Spirit and Opportunity (2004) were as big as a golf cart, and worked much beyond the warranty of 3 months. Eight years after, Opportunity is still exploring the landscape of Meridiani Planum. These rovers confirmed that water not only was present on Mars, but has been present in many different forms. Like on Earth, our red neighbour had oceans, lakes, fresh water wet lands and hot springs. All registered in very clear geological evidences. However, we were still unsure about how long water was present there and if it was there long enough for life to be formed, to flourish and evolve. Curiosity is there to shed new light on these questions and to tell us more about the evolution of the Solar System and if life could have existed beyond Earth.