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Talking Space: The Search for Life on Mars

Finished 8 March 2017
Sydney Observatory

The interest in Mars is heating up. As we learn more about its past habitability and the history of its evolution, excitement is building for NASA’s Mars 2020 mission to search for signs of life.

In this talk, join Professor Martin Van Kranendonk from the Australian Centre for Astrobiology as he presents an overview of currently favoured landing sites for the mission and his team’s top site, based on analogy with an early Earth setting in the Pilbara region of Western Australia and new discoveries pertaining to the origins of life.

Presented in collaboration with the Australian Centre for Astrobiology.

Professor Martin Van Kranendonk is the Director of the NASA-affiliated Australian Centre for Astrobiology, Deputy Director of the Big Questions Institute, and has recently become Head of the School of Biological, Earth & Environmental Sciences at UNSW. He is a leading researcher on the geology of the Pilbara region and of the early Earth in general. He leads a team researching the early evolution of life on Earth, in particular the habitats of the oldest life and the adaptation of life to the Great Oxygenation Event. The team’s research is also being used as a guide to better understand the origin of life on Earth and to help NASA in the search for life on Mars.

Talking Space is a monthly series of talks organised by Sydney Observatory. To keep up to date with upcoming talks, subscribe to Sydney Observatory’s newsletter here.

Please be advised that from February 2017, Sydney Observatory’s paths and gardens will be undergoing some renovations to improve access to Sydney’s oldest observatory. During these works the Observatory will remain open day and night and Adult Astronomy courses will operate as normal. There may be a small impact on our other programs, events and tours but we aim to complete this project as quickly as possible and thank you for your understanding. Please contact us on or (02) 9217 0111 if you would like more information.