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Past Life? Present Life? The Future of Solar System Exploration

Washington, D.C.

Mars during the 2007 opposition: longitude 50°
Past Life? Present Life? The Future of Solar System Exploration D.C. Event

WHO: Confirmed Speakers:

Bill Nye, CEO, The Planetary Society
Dr. Kevin Hand, Deputy Chief Scientist of Solar System Exploration, Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Dr. Michael Meyer, Lead Scientist for the Mars Exploration Program, NASA

WHEN: 2 - 3:30pm, Tuesday, December 2, 2014 (Doors open at 1:30pm)

WHERE: Room 562, Dirksen Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C.

WHAT: Mars was once warm and wet, with water you could drink. Did life ever take hold here? If so, how would scientists find it in the vast, dry deserts of Mars today?

Europa, a small moon of Jupiter, is wet now. Very wet. Current estimates suggest that Europa has more than twice the volume of water of all Earth’s oceans combined. Recent observations from the Hubble Space Telescope suggest there may be plumes of water shooting off into space. Could life be present in the vast oceans of Europa? How could we begin to look?

For the first time in human history, we have the technology to attempt to answer these questions. Proposed and upcoming robotic missions at NASA can help unlock the astrobiological secrets of our solar system. Learn how NASA could return samples of Mars to the greatest laboratories on Earth to analyse them in ways impossible by small rovers. Hear how could begin to explore the fractured, icy surface of Europa to better understand this enigmatic moon and even find a way to land, or even swim in its oceans. This isn’t science fiction—it’s science, but only if we choose to pursue it.

Join the The Planetary Society and its expert guests for an engaging, uplifting, and exciting look into the potential for discovery in our solar system. A Q&A period for the audience will follow the main program. Seating is limited. Guests are urged to arrive early. Doors open at 1:30pm.

WHY: As exoplanets are discovered by thousands, humans naturally wonder if some of them are bastions for life. Better understanding the possibility of life on Mars and Europa help us understand where and how life could—or could not—take hold. We have exoplanets in our own cosmic backyard.


Past Life? Present Life? The Future of Solar System Exploration
December 2, 2014, 2:00pm
Room 562
Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20001



Please direct all inquiries about this event to Casey Dreier at For phone inquiries, call 607-216-8432

The Planetary Society, the world’s largest space interest group, and its CEO Bill Nye The Science Guy will host expert scientists to explore about the astrobiological significance of exploring Mars and Europa in the United States Senate on Tuesday, December 2, 2014.
Bill Nye and people
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