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Thanks to decades of successful space missions, we know more about our neighbour planet Mars than ever before, and travel to the Red Planet might be within reach. But is Mars suitable for human settlers, or life at all? Join us on a space journey through Mars’ atmosphere and its interior, and explore how (un-)inhabitable Mars really is.
Magnetic Mars and Goldilocks Earth
If Venus is Earth’s sister, Mars is perhaps a cousin: a little smaller, a little colder, but from much the same stock. So why are Mars and Earth so different today? The planet’s magnetic fields give us clues as to how the planets differ today, and how they may have been much more similar in the past. Magnetic fields let us see inside a planet remotely, to discover its structure and workings, and to explore its history and its habitability. Find out why Mars is barren and Earth is juuust right!
Atmospheric Chemistry and Signs of Life on Mars
Ben Taysum (University of Edinburgh PhD student in Geoscience)
What goes on in the atmosphere of Mars? What can chemical reactions in the Martian atmosphere tell us about possible signs of biological life, past or present? Today, I’ll be discussing the role of atmospheric chemistry on Mars. I'll explore the seasonal and daily cycles that its atmosphere experiences, and why recent impermanent appearances of Martian methane present a confusing, but exciting, mystery for planetary scientists.
Mars is a terrible place to live
Dr Adam Stevens (University of Edinburgh Post-Doctoral Researcher in Physics & Astronomy)
In this talk, we will examine the various conditions on Mars that make it incredibly inhospitable for life. Then we’ll look at some of the organisms that can withstand, or even like, these conditions on Earth and determine what this means for the likelihood of life on Mars. Finally, we’ll think about the implications this has for future missions that will try and look for martian life.