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About the Society

The Leeds Philosophical and Literary Society, founded in 1819, is a charity that promotes interest in science, literature and the arts – in the city of Leeds and beyond. We have meetings, lectures, entertainments, publications and visits.

The Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover and the search for ancient life on Mars

A Leeds Phil & Lit ‘Hot Topic’ talk by Professor Nicholas Tosca, University of Cambridge

17 Nov 2021

Online

7:30pm BST

Free

More about this event

Professor Nicholas Tosca will talk about the scientific motivation for the Mars mission and the potential consequences of the findings. He’ll introduce the questions surrounding the origins of life on Earth and why Mars exploration is a key part of solving that puzzle. He’ll go on to discuss the scientific significance of the landing site, the analytical capabilities of the rover, and what sorts of information the team is looking to acquire. Finally, there will be a quick update on recent and future activities.

Nicholas Tosca is a professor of mineralogy and petrology at the University of Cambridge. His research focuses on unravelling the processes that shape planetary surfaces and their environments over time. Professor Tosca’s research group uses analytical, experimental and theoretical approaches to understand how sediments and sedimentary rocks on early Earth and Mars record aspects of paleo-climate and habitability. Dr Tosca served on the International Mars Sample Return Objectives and Samples Team (iMOST), the NASA-ESA Mars Sample Return Planning Group.

As a graduate student, he was one of just two people in the room when the first images of Endurance Crater were returned on the big screen – the first time a Mars Rover peered into an impact crater.

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