AGU’s annual Public Lecture is a critical component of our mission to increase the visibility of Earth and space sciences within and outside of membership. This event continues to aim to make modern scientific progress accessible to the public in an interesting and engaging format for audiences of all ages and backgrounds.

Public Lecture: How Do We Choose a Landing Site on Mars?
Sunday, 11 December, 12:00–1:00 P.M.
Moscone South, Room 104


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Dr. Michael Meyer, Dr. Bethany Ehlmann, and Alex Longo will deliver the Public Lecture at the 2016 Fall Meeting titled How Do We Choose a Landing Site on Mars? on Sunday December 11th from 12:00pm-1:00pm. Read more about the Public Lecture in this Eos article.

Today we know Mars to be a vast beautiful planet that in many ways is like the American Southwest. It has sweeping vistas and huge mountains with long and wide valleys. In its past Mars had an enormous ocean with a significant atmosphere and it is only by studying this planet on the surface that we will be able to unlock its past and understand how we will live and work on the Red planet in the future. Finding the right landing sites for our robotic and human missions requires an extensive knowledge about the planet. Our panel of experts will discuss “how on Earth” we find the right places to go to on Mars.

Dr. Michael Meyer
Lead Scientist for the Mars Exploration Program
Senior Scientist, Science Mission Directorate, NASA Headquarters
mmeyerDr. Meyer is responsible for the science content of current and future Mars missions, and Program Scientist for the Mars Science Laboratory – Curiosity rover mission.  He was the Senior Scientist for Astrobiology and Program Scientist for the 2001 Mars Odyssey, Mars Microprobe mission, and for two Shuttle /Mir experiments.  The Astrobiology Program, started in 1997 with him as the Discipline Scientist, is dedicated to the study of the life in the universe.  He has managed NASA’s Exobiology Program from 1994 to 1997. Dr. Meyer was also the Planetary Protection Officer for NASA, responsible for mission compliance to NASA’s policy concerning forward and back contamination during planetary exploration. Dr. Meyer earned a Ph.D. and M.S. in Oceanography, Texas A&M University, and B.S. in Biology, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Dr. Bethany Ehlmann
Assistant Professor of Planetary Sciences, Caltech
Research Scientist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory 
behlmannDr. Ehlmann’s research focuses on the composition of planetary surfaces, tracing evidence of water-related processes throughout the solar system, remote sensing techniques and instruments, and unraveling Mars’ environmental evolution. She was a student science collaborator on the Mars Exploration Rovers (Spirit and Opportunity), is co-investigator on the CRISM imaging spectrometer on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, is Participating Scientist on the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover, and is part of the science team of the upcoming Mars 2020 rover.


Alex Longo
Student, Cardinal Gibbons High School, Raleigh, North Carolina
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Alex has been fascinated by planetary science, especially Mars, from an early age. He is on the All-A Honors Roll in his high school and created and wrote the syllabus for the Space Explorers Club at Cardinal Gibbons. He has advocated a particular landing site on Mars for both Mars 2020 and at the recent Human Landing site workshops. He was the youngest person to speak at the NASA landing site selection conference and published an online document, “The Importance of Mars 2020 and Gusev Crater.” He has received a number of honors and awards, been interviewed by the press on a number of occasions, and has given a number of invited talks to other students about his experiences in participating in NASA science activities.