Dr. Luann Becker from Johns Hopkins University will be visiting our Department March 4th-5th to lecture on topics involving organics on Mars. AWWW YEEAAAHHS
We are STELLARLY excited to bring this external speaker to you guys and hope that you can make either the Tech Session meeting (4:00-5:00 Thursday in JGB 2.324) and/or the UT POSSE meeting (6:00-7:00 Thursday in JGB 3.222).
Dr. Becker is currently the primary investigator of the Mars Organic Molecule Analyzer on an Upcoming European Space Agency mission to Mars. She received her Ph. D. in Astrobiology from the University of California - San Diego..
Becker is probably best known for her work investigating the causes of mass extinctions. She's argued that one of those extinctions, called the Great Dying, was triggered by a giant asteroid that slammed into Earth 250 million years ago. Becker has looked for evidence of this collision in old sediment layers around the world. And she's found exotic carbon molecules -- known as buckyballs or fullerenes -- that may have been carried to Earth from outer space. Becker is also interested in life beyond our planet. She's working on an instrument that will get launched to Mars as part of a European mission in 2013. The instrument, known as a mass spectrometer, will hunt for organic molecules that may have been left behind by long-dead microorganisms. To find these ancient signs of life, the mission will search where no man (or rover) has searched before -- up to 2 meters below the Martian surface." (Idaho National Laboratory Podcast, Roberta Kwok 2010) Click here for more info.
So please come and enjoy the talks, food, and all-out saWEETness.