Chris McKay Lecture in Madison next Monday

From: Jan Wee <>
Subject: Chris McKay Lecture in Madison next Monday
Date: Thu, 14 Nov 1996 08:17:02 -0600

Dear discuss-lfm members,

For those PTK participants in the Wisconsin region (my home state),
this special event is taking place next Monday evening which may
interest you.  I plan to be on hand and capture the
event with digital images and a journal to share online via
our web site.  If anyone else can attend, please let me know
in advance!  By the way, Dr. Sanjay Limaye, Planetary Scientist
at UW-Madison will be assisting PTK with the Planet Explorer Toolkit
debate.  More about Sanjay will be shared online in the near future but
I can attest that he is a wonderful mentor for educators integrating
space education in the classroom.  

Here is the announcement:

This is to give you advance notice about a lecture for the general public of 
all ages by Dr. Chris McKay, of NASA/Ames Research Center on the UW-Madison 
Campus on Monday, November 18, 1996 at 7:00 pm in Room 204, Educational 
Science Building, 1025 West Johnson Street.   Closest public parking is 
available in the ramp underground parking lot in Grainger School of Business 
just a two minute walk away.

You are undoubtedly aware of the recent reports of possible life on Mars. 
 There are three spacecraft about to be launched in late October/Early 
November towards Mars in a new beginning of exploration of Mars (at least by 
the US) twenty years after the two Viking orbiters and landers explored the 
red planet.   Dr. McKay (no relation to David McKay) is a very entertaining 
speaker and has won an award from Division of Planetary Sciences of the 
American Astronomical Society for his contributions.

Please call me if you have any questions, or if you wish to contact Dr. 

Thanks for your continued interest.

Sanjay Limaye

Life on Mars; past, present and future

Christopher P. McKay
Space Science Division
NASA Ames Research Center
Moffett Field, CA 94035


Although the Viking results may indicate that Mars has no life today, there
is direct geomorphological evidence that, in the past, Mars had large
amounts of liquid water on its surface --- possibly due to a thicker
atmosphere. From a biological perspective the existence of liquid water, by
itself, motivates the question of the origin of life on Mars. One of the
martian meteorites dates back to this early period and may contain evidence
consistent with life. From studies of the Earth's earliest biosphere we
know that by 3.5 Gyr. ago, life had originated on Earth and reached a fair
degree of biological sophistication. Surface activity and erosion on Earth
make it difficult to trace the history of life before the 3.5 Gyr
timeframe. Ecosystems in cold, dry locations on Earth --- such as the
Antarctic --- provide examples of how life on Mars might have survived and
where to look for fossils.


Biographical Sketch: Dr. Christopher P. McKay, Planetary Scientist with the
Space Science Division of NASA Ames.

Chris received his Ph.D. in AstroGeophysics from the University of Colorado
in 1982 and has been a research scientist with the NASA Ames Research
Center since that time. His current research focuses on the evolution of
the solar system and the origin of life. He is also actively involved in
planning for future Mars missions including human settlements.  Chris has
been involved with polar research since 1980, traveling to the Antarctic
dry valleys and more recently to the Siberian and Canadian Arctic to conduct
research in these Mars-like environments.


Jan Wee

Jan Wee, Education Outreach Coordinator
Passport to Knowledge
Voice: 608-786-2767  (8am-4pm Central time)   Fax: 608-786-1819