This event will be introduced and moderated by Dr Niamh Shaw. Niamh is an engineer, scientist actor, comedian and writer. She has drawn on her technical and artistic experiences to become Ireland’s leading space communicator.
Niamh will be joined by
Kevin Nolan is a lecturer in Physics at Technological University Dublin at Tallaght Campus. Kevin is an expert on Mars and author of the popular science book “Mars, a Cosmic Stepping Stone” (Springer)
Dr Mary Bourke TCD is an Earth and Planetary Geomorphologist with expertise in extreme environments on Earth and Mars. She has worked in Oxford and the Planetary Science Institute, Arizona before moving to Trinity and has worked on many NASA funded projects on Mars.
John O Donoghue a Wexford native, set up Enbio as a biomedical company in 2006. He developed a process for coating metals that has found applications in the space industry, which led to the establishment of Enbio Space Technologies Centre. The company has developed the heat resistant coating for the European Space Agency’s Solar Orbiter Mission.
Mars has held a great fascination since ancient times. On 18 February 2021, NASA successfully landed Perseverance Rover on the Red Planet. Perseverance is an apt name as 60% of missions to our nearest neighbour have ended in failure. (The first probe crashed onto the surface of Mars fifty years ago). The terrain on Mars shows signs of there having been surface water in the past and this has led to the hypothesis that life may have also evolved on our neighbour. Such evidence would be of profound scientific importance and the Perseverance mission hopes to probe these questions. We are entering a period of intense effort by many countries to explore Mars with a human mission proposed for the 2030s.
This presentation will celebrate the wonderful engineering achievement in getting the car-sized lander Perseverance onto Mars, discuss the scientific mission and the challenges of getting humans to Mars.