On Tues, 02 November, 33 members of our Club along with 30 friends of the Club (12 from as far away as our partner club in Welshpool, Wales), joined together to welcome our Guest Speaker from the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)! Our own Keith Jones welcomed 
   Christopher Heirwegh (along with several members of Chris' family), originally from Simcoe, and now working as a JPL Research Scientist/X-Ray Spectroscopist, planning the exploration of the solar system, more specifically the Martian surface.
      See the "Read more ..." section for detail on his presentation. Being a recorded Zoom session, the complete detail of Chris' presentation is also available upon request.
      Following an excellent presentation as well as quite a few technical and personal reflection questions from the group, Paul Zorad thanked Chris for joining us, for making a very complex topic, so very interesting.
      Good luck with the Mars Rover landing in Feb '21, Chris - we'll be following with newfound interest!
      Don Emerson also noted the wide interest that Chris had generated and thanked our friends in the Welshpool Club for joining in.
Mars Rover.jpgChris will discuss in his talk, topics that drive planetary scientists to continue exploration of the inner solar system, particularly Mars. By exploring other worlds, scientists can investigate big topics concerning the formation and continued evolution of the solar system, assessing the uniqueness of Earth and searching for the possibility that life on other planets might have once existed. This presentation will touch upon findings from past science missions to the Martian surface and discuss the current objectives of the Mars 2020 mission that will be carried out by Perseverance Rover. A brief discussion will then follow on PIXL, its role in this mission, its operation as a portable field based X-ray spectrometer and the PIXL science team’s task of interpreting the data. Chris will close with a brief summary on the potential future directions that solar system exploration may take.