April 18, 2009
“Why Can’t Humans Survive on Mars?”
An interactive session led by Dr. Phil Christensen
Regents Professor and the Ed and Helen Korrick Professor in the Department of Geological Science at Arizona State University
Mars would be an exciting place to visit, with interesting landscapes and the possibility of alien life. However, it would be very hard to live there. When astronauts go to Mars they will have to deal with a very harsh environment in order to live and work. What do we know about the planet and how would we build the habitats, spacesuits, and rovers that would allow astronauts to survive? The robotic spacecraft we've sent to study Mars have told us a lot about what to expect - but what do we still need to know and what are the main challenges that we will need to overcome?
Dr. Christensen is a Regents Professor and the Ed and Helen Korrick Professor in the Department of Geological Science at Arizona State University. His research interests focus on the composition, physical properties and processes, and morphology of planetary surfaces, with an emphasis on Mars and the Earth. He is the principal investigator for the Mars Global Surveyor Thermal Emission Spectrometer (TES) and the Mars Odyssey Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS) instruments. He is also a co-investigator for the Mars Exploration Rovers, who is responsible for building and operating the Mini-TES instruments. Dr. Christensen is also known as "Dr. C" on a NASA website where he answers children's questions about Mars.