November meeting: Fossils on Mars and in Meteorites

NASA scientist Richard Hoover displays growing moss that remained alive yet dormant while frozen for 40,000 years in Siberian permafrost. (NASA/MSFC)

Plan to join us on Tuesday, November 19 for our monthly meeting. It starts at 6:30, but feel free to show up around 6:00 to meet and chat with other club members. Check out our Meetings page for the address and directions. This month we have a very interesting presentation planned called Fossils on Mars and in Meteorites, presented by Dr. Richard Hoover, a long time employee of Marshall Space Flight Center.

This is a short description of his presentation:

A major component in the search for ancient or recent evidence of extraterrestrial life, the presentation will describe evidence for present day water, organic biomolecules, fossils and living organisms on Mars obtained by European Space Agency (ESA) Missions and the NASA Viking Landers and the Opportunity and Curiosity Rovers, and evidence for biomolecules and microfossils in carbonaceous meteorites.

Here is a biography of Dr. Hoover from the NASA/MSFC web page. You may also visit that page to read a chat transript:

Dr. Richard Hoover, a Marshall employee since 1968, is the Astrobiology group leader at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, AL. Hoover is recognized for his work in X-ray and extreme ultraviolet light optics – ranging from microscopes to telescopes. His full-disk images of the sun in the x-ray and ultraviolet wavelengths are among his many innovative advances for the field of Astrobiology.

Hoover has collected meteorites and microbial extremophiles from Antarctica; novel bacteria from Glaciers and permafrost of Antarctica, Patagonia, Siberia and Alaska and from haloalkaline lakes, geysers, and volcanoes of California, Alaska, Crete and Hawaii. He has discovered three new species of bacteria from Mono Lake in California – Spirochaeta Americana, Desulfonatronum thiodismutans and Tindallia californiensis – and another, Carnobacterium pleistocenium, which survived for 32,000 years in a frozen Alaskan pond.

He holds 11 U.S. patents and in 1992 was named NASA’s Inventor of the Year. He served on editorial boards of several scientific journals and the boards of directors of the American Association of Engineering Societies, and the Council of Scientific Society Presidents. He is the author or editor of 33 books and some 250 papers on astrobiology, extremophiles, diatoms, solar physics, X-ray/EUV optics and meteorites. He co-directed the NATO Advanced Study Institute on Astrobiology in Crete, for which he published the book “Perspectives in Astrobiology” in 2005.

Please plan to join us for this fascinating presentation!

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