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March 2 @ 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm


Voyager Lecture Series

The Challenge of Colonizing Mars

With Ron Smith
March 2nd 7:30pm

Long ago the Greeks named the Red Planet after Aries, their God of War. Mars is the Roman name for the same god. Astronomically, Mars has played the role of being a great deceiver. When astronomers first observed Martian polar caps that grew and ebbed seasonally, they concluded Mars had an earth-like climate. When Percival Lowell observed Martian canals, some concluded Mars harbored an advanced civilization. Now many visionaries, like Elon Musk, view Mars as place to colonize. It promises to give humanity a foothold on a second world.

On Tuesday, March 2, Voyager lecturer Ron Smith will explain how Mars might be deceiving us again. Despite the lofty, noble goal of creating a permanent Mars colony, it may be an impossible dream. The shear distance between Mars and earth makes travel a very long and expensive venture. Added to that, Mars has a very thin atmosphere, deadly radiation, salty soil, and no local energy resources. While anything might be possible, colonizing Mars may require the use of certain technologies we do not yet have. National Geographic will produce a third season of their popular drama, Mars. It reveals many challenges we face in colonizing Mars, but the challenges are even more daunting than portrayed in this popular series.

Ron Smith’s teaching and lecturing career began at age 9 when his father took him to see a planetarium show at the Griffith Observatory. Ten years later, Ron’s dream came true when he began giving planetarium shows at Griffith while pursuing an astronomy degree at the University of Southern California. After graduating from USC, Ron began his 34-year teaching career in the California Community College system. He first directed the Tessmann Planetarium at Santa Ana College, then two years later, became a professor of astronomy at Santa Monica College. In 1984 he left Southern California and taught for 18 years at Santa Rosa Junior College. There he produced planetarium programs for the college star theater, and taught astronomy, meteorology, and earth science. Ron Smith considers himself to be a planetarium educator. His experience in junior college teaching, public lecturing at the Page Museum of Natural history, and planetarium show production gives him a broad based science background. In retirement, Ron continues to enjoy sharing his love of science with audiences at Sunriver, Dixie State University, and the Center for the Arts at Kayenta.

The Voyager Lecture Series is generously sponsored by:


This lecture will begin at 7:30pm on March 2nd. An informal gathering beings at 6:30pm. Tickets are $15 including refreshments.




March 2
7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Event Category: