One of the greatest questions of science and society is 'Are we alone?' Is the life that we know all there is, or is there much more out there? While scientists are investigating this question from many directions, this talk will focus on our search for evidence of life on Mars. Mars is the most Earth-like planet in our solar system and has had environments that would have easily supported life as know it. The critical question is if it ever did. If life can form anytime the right environment is present, we would expect life to exist throughout the universe. If not, then we are all the more special.
Join J.R. Skok, a planetary scientist at the SETI Institute and Brown Class of '09/ '13 on his journey to develop a mission to find evidence of life on Mars. Using NASA satellite data, J.R. discovered one of the two known hot spring deposits on Mars. These springs deposits are ideally suited for developing life, preserving it and showing us where it finds it. All we need to do now is make the mission and send it. J.R. has traveled to spring systems around the world to understand how they work and what a mission would need to do. Springs in Iceland and Chile are being used to understand what we should look for. J.R. will share his journey to these springs and he will develop a mission to explore the spring deposits on Mars for evidence of life.
J.R. Skok, has been fortunate to embed exploration into his life for both work and play. He works as a planetary scientist who explores Mars and Mars-like places on Earth, when not doing that, he is often mapping caves to relax. He has been part of NASA's Mars Exploration Rover and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter mission teams while at Cornell and Brown University and now works with the SETI Institute and NASA Ames to lead the development of a mission to find life in ancient Martian hot springs. In order to get a better understanding of the geologic processes seen on Mars, he has worked in analog environments including Antarctica, Iceland, the Andes, Hawaii, Spain, Northern Quebec and more, with each location offering a new specific insight into what made Mars.