Ken Farley, W. M. Keck Foundation professor of Geochemistry, Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences and the project scientist for the Mars 2020 mission, continues the 2020–2021 Watson Lecture season with a talk about, “Perseverance on Mars,” Wednesday, March 10, at 5:00 p.m., via Zoom.
After eight years of development at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the Perseverance rover successfully landed on Mars on February 18, 2021. In this Watson Lecture, Farley will describe how this highly capable rover will investigate rocks deposited billions of years ago at the bottom of a large lake (long since disappeared), seeking evidence of possible Martian life at that time. He will also look at how the rocks carefully collected by Perseverance during these explorations will provide the cargo for the first-ever effort to bring samples back to Earth from another planet.
Farley has been on the Caltech faculty since 1993. He received his BS from Yale University in 1986 and was a National Science Foundation Graduate Fellow at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego, where he earned his PhD. He was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Rochester and at Lamont-Doherty Geological Observatory before coming to Caltech. Farley became director of the Caltech Tectonics Observatory in 2003–04 and served as chair of GPS from 2004 to 2014. He is a fellow of the American Geophysical Union and Geochemical Society and is an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Farley has led NASA’s Mars 2020 rover mission as project scientist since 2013.
Farley’s Watson lecture is free and open to the public. Advance registration is required. The lecture will begin at 5:00 p.m. and run approximately 45 minutes, followed by audience Q&A with Farley. After the live webinar, the lecture (without Q&A) will be available for on-demand viewing on Caltech’s YouTube channel.
Since 1922, the Earnest C. Watson Lectures have brought Caltech’s most innovative scientific research to the public. The series is named for Earnest C. Watson, a professor of physics at Caltech from 1919 until 1959. Spotlighting a selection of the pioneering research currently being done at Caltech, the Watson Lectures are geared toward a general audience as part of the Institute’s ongoing commitment to benefiting the local community through education and outreach. Through a gift from the estate of Richard C. Biedebach, the lecture series has expanded to also highlight one assistant professor’s research each season.
The Watson Lectures are part of the Caltech Signature Lectures presented by Caltech Public Programming, which offer a deep dive into the groundbreaking research and scientific discoveries at Caltech and JPL. For information, visit https://caltech.edu/watson.