Free Lecture to Focus on Life on Mars

Lecture by NASA scientist is set for March 23 at UC Riverside

Poster for Mars lecture


RIVERSIDE, Calif. ( — The University of California, Riverside Science Lecture Series continues March 23 with a talk from a NASA scientist about strategies and prospects for finding life on Mars.

Kenneth Williford, a deputy project scientist on the Mars 2020 Mission and the director of the Astrobiogeochemistry Lab at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, will give the talk called “Mars 2020 and Beyond: Will We Find Life on the Red Planet?” Williford is a biogeochemist who develops analytical techniques to search for signs of life and environments in some of the oldest rocks on Earth.

The event, which is scheduled from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on campus at the University Theatre (Humanities 400), is free and open to the public. There is free parking in parking lot 6. Light refreshments will be served before the lecture, and prizes will be raffled off after the panel discussion

After the lecture, Williford will join a panel of guests to discuss humanity’s potential for colonizing the solar system. The other panelists are: Eric Schwitzgebel, a UC Riverside professor of philosophy; Christopher Corbally, an associate professor of astrophysics at the University of Arizona, a Jesuit priest, and an astronomer at the Vatican Observatory; and Penelope Boston, director of the NASA Astrobiology Institute, which includes the UC Riverside-led Alternative Earths team.

After the March 23 talk, there will be one more lecture as part of the “Are We Alone?” lecture series, which is sponsored by UC Riverside’s College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences:

  • Thursday, April 13. “Alien Planets: Are Other Earths Lurking in Our Galaxy?” Speaker: Antígona Segura Peralta, professor of astrobiology, National Autonomous University of Mexico.

The talk by Williford will be live streamed at Archival videos of past events are also available at that web site.

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