Skip to main content

Take a trip to Mars During the Physics First Friday Lecture

Image of Mars shot by NASA

Join the Boise State Department of Physics for its monthly First Friday lecture, 8 p.m. on Friday, July 6 in the Science and Education Building, Room 112.

The free, public event will feature Doug Archer, a Mars research scientist at NASA’s Johnson Space Center. Archer will discuss recent discoveries by the Curiosity rover in the Gale Crater, a former lake on the Martian surface.

The rover has been exploring Mars for nearly six years, assessing whether conditions on Mars might have once supported life, and exploring current conditions. Using a range of instruments, including cameras, an X-ray spectrometer, an X-ray diffraction instrument, and a gas chromatograph/mass spectrometer/tunable laser spectrometer, Curiosity has found intriguing evidence. Archer will tell you more.

Attendees will also get to stargaze through telescopes in the university’s observatory after the lecture, weather permitting.

Archer holds a B.S. in physics from Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah and a Ph.D. in planetary science from the University of Arizona in Tucson, Arizona. He is currently a member of the Mars Science Laboratory science team and a member of the Sample Analysis at Mars instrument team. His focus is  detecting and identifying volatile-bearing minerals through evolved gas analysis. These minerals provide a windows into past and present environmental conditions on Mars.