Luncheon – April 20, 2001

Title: Driller in a Strange Land

Speaker: by Alfred W. Eustes III, Colorado School of Mines

Date: April 20, 2001

Publication: The Outcrop, April 2001, p. 4-5

One of the fundamental questions that mankind has asked from the beginning of time is: Are we alone in the universe? There is one place accessible to mankind that has the strongest possibility to answer this question: Mars. We know for certain of one Genesis of life, Earth. Was there a second Genesis? Or was there a single Genesis but it was on Mars and migrated to Earth? Are we really Martians?

This presentation will cover the latest information on the basic characteristics of Mars, as we understand it today. It will also cover some of the current thoughts regarding Martian geology and its possible history with the implications for life.

The Viking missions probably indicated that there were no organic materials present at the surface of the planet. However, as on Earth, there could be a large biomass under the surface. To determine that, drillers are needed to access the subsurface. NASA recently held the Mars Drilling Feasibility Workshop at the Lunar and Planetary Institute to assess the state-of-the-art in extraterrestrial drilling. This presentation will cover some of the current plans for Martian subsurface exploration and the techniques for getting there. It will also cover the latest NASA plans for exploration of the Red Planet.

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