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Monday, December 07, 2015
8:00 AM - 12:30 PM
South Mudd 365

Keck Institute for Space Studies - Short Course

Methane on Mars

The Keck Institute for Space Studies (KISS) invites all interested researchers and students to attend the following short course: "Methane on Mars".

"Methane on Mars" study program investigates and explores the best route for solving the profound puzzles arising from the recent ground-truth detection of methane on Mars by the Tunable Laser Spectrometer (TLS) onboard Curiosity. This discovery reorients our understanding of the Martian environment and perhaps its potential for life. It necessitates a new era of research pursuing answers to the questions: What is generating methane, and how is it destroyed or sequestered on Mars? For instance, existing hypotheses of Martian methane sources include gas-water-rock chemistry and microbes (methanogens). The former implies the existence of environs offering liquid water and chemical sources of energy - i.e. habitability - while the latter implies the discovery of life on Mars. Solving these puzzles innately requires a concerted research effort across many disciplines and major technological advancements, including new measurement and exploration capabilities and methodologies.

Speakers Include:

  • Prof. Bethany Ehlmann (Caltech Campus) - The History of Liquid Water on Mars
  • Prof. Ken Nealson (USC) - Life in the Martian Context
  • Dr. Michael Mischna (JPL/Caltech) - Martian Climate History
  • Dr. Chris Webster (JPL/Caltech) - Atmospheric Chemistry and Methane Measurements
  • Prof. Barbara Sherwood Lollar (Univ. of Toronto) - Biotic and Abiotic Methane Sources and How to Differentiate Them

There is no fee to attend, no registration is required. Seating is limited and available on a first-come, first served basis. 8:00 am Coffee & Refreshments and an informal lunch is provided for all attendees following the short course.

For more information, please contact Michele Judd by phone at 626-395-6630 or by email at or visit KISS Short Course: Methane on Mars.