The Curiosity Mission is exploring Mars in a whole new way, with discoveries that are providing a more vivid picture of current and ancient Mars. The rover's search for habitable environments, for organic material, and for proof of once-flowing water has been remarkably successful. Next up is a climb of portions of three-mile high Mount Sharp, in order to read the eons-old mineral record. NASA's Pamela Conrad will focus on habitability-what conditions must be met to declare that an area had the capacity to support life. Marc Kaufman, author of "Mars Up Close: Inside the Curiosity Mission" will provide a mission overview. Carnegie's Andrew Steele will discuss the effort to identify organic material-the building blocks of life- in the desiccated and irradiated Gale Crater. The group will discuss new discoveries.
Marc Kaufman is a science writer and national editor for The Washington Post. He lives outside of Washington, D.C. Visit him at www.habitablezones.com. - See more at: http://authors.simonandschuster.com/Marc-Kaufman/49865666#sthash.ayTcFCMn.dpuf
Dr. Matthew P. Scott
Dr. Matthew P. Scott was appointed the tenth president of the Carnegie Institution for Science beginning September 1, 2014. Scott was Professor of Developmental Biology, Genetics, Bioengineering, and Biology at the Stanford University School of Medicine prior to his Carnegie appointment.
Scott did his undergraduate and graduate work at M.I.T., with Prof. Mary Lou Pardue as his Ph.D. thesis advisor. He moved to Indiana University for his postdoctoral work as a Helen Hay Whitney fellow with Profs. Thomas Kaufman and Barry Polisky. After setting up his own lab at the University of Colorado, Boulder, Dr. Scott went to Stanford in 1990 to join the newly formed Department of Developmental Biology, and the Department of Genetics. His research focused on genes that control development, and how damage to these genes leads to birth defects, cancer, and neurodegeneration. He discovered the “homeobox,”an evolutionarily conserved component of many genes that control development. His lab group discovered the genetic basis of the most common human cancer, basal cell carcinoma, and of the most common childhood malignant brain tumor, medulloblastoma.
Scott served as Associate Chair and Chair of the Department of Developmental Biology for a total of six years. He chaired the multidisciplinary Bio-X program at Stanford from 2001-2007 and was Co-chair of the Center for Children’s Brain Tumors. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Sciences, and the Institute of Medicine, and he served as president of the Society for Developmental Biology. His awards include the Passano Award (1990), the Conklin Medal of the Society for Developmental Biology (2004), and the Pasarow Award in Cancer Research (2013).
Andrew Steele uses traditional and biotechnological approaches for the detection of microbial life in astrobiology and solar system exploration. A microbiologist by training and Astrobiologist by choice, his principal interest is in developing protocols, instrumentation and procedures for life detection in samples from the early Earth and elsewhere in the Solar System.