|Space Studies colloquium will focus on Mars|
The spring 2010 colloquium series focuses on the general theme “Human Missions to Mars” and features several leading experts in the field, both from within UND and other organizations. The first colloquium talk will be presented at 4 p.m. Monday, Jan. 25, in 111 Ryan Hall by Prof. Michael Gaffey, Department of Space Studies. The subject of the colloquium talk will be the planet Mars.
The planet Mars has been long identified as a target for human space missions and possible human settlements. Since the 1986 discovery of possible – but very controversial – microbial fossils in the Martian meteorite ALH 84001, a fleet of unmanned spacecraft from several nations have visited the Red Planet. Although many questions remain to be resolved, we now know a great deal more about Mars than we did in 1989 when the NASA at the request of the President outlined a scenario for a manned Mars mission. In this presentation, we will outline the present state of knowledge concerning the nature and history of the planet Mars, with a special focus on aspects which would impact planning for a manned Mars mission and future human settlements.
Mike Gaffey is a Chester Fritz Distinguished Professor at the UND Space Studies Department. He received his bachelor's and master's degrees in geology from the University of Iowa and his Ph.D. from MIT in planetary science, graduating in 1974. From 1974 to 1977, he worked as a post-doc in the Planetary Astronomy Laboratory at MIT. After leaving MIT, he worked as a researcher at the University of Hawaii's Institute for Astronomy from 1977 to 1979 and the Hawaii Institute of Geophysics from 1979 to 1984. He is also a professor emeritus at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute where he taught from 1984 to 2001.
In 2006 he received both the Leonard Medal from the Meteoritical Society and the G. K. Gilbert Award from the Planetary Science Division of the Geological Society of America. Asteroid 3545 Gaffey is also named in his honor.
-- Space Studies