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MAPS Virtual Speaker Series To Explore Mars

The Modesto Area Partners in Science (MAPS) will be offering a virtual presentation by Roger Wiens, PhD., on the topic of “Exploring Mars with NASA’s 1-Ton Rovers” on Friday, April 16, 2021 at 7:30 p.m.

Dr. Wiens is the Principal Investigator for ChemCam, one of the instruments being utilized on NASA’s Mars Rover Curiosity. He was selected as the Principal Investigator of the SuperCam team, for NASA’s mission to Mars on Feb. 18, 2021. His book, Red Rover: Inside the Story of Robotic Space Exploration offers a personal glimpse into his journey from childhood into adulthood, as one who is fascinated by the heavens. Dr. Wiens has a vision to communicate to the public the adventure and challenge of space exploration and to encourage others to pursue their dreams despite the obstacles.

NASA’s first SUV-size Mars Rover, Curiosity, which landed in 2012, discovered an ancient, long-lived freshwater lake on Mars, showing that Mars may have been as habitable as Earth in its early stages. Curiosity also made the first discovery of organic molecules on Mars. The rover Perseverance, which landed in February, is equipped with the most sophisticated instruments yet, to ensure a better understanding of the Red Planet and to collect the best samples for the return cache. This event will highlight both missions’ searches for life on Mars.

Dr. Wiens has been recognized by NASA and Los Alamos National Laboratory for his contributions to science. In 2016, he was knighted by the government of France for his work in “forging strong ties between the French and American scientific communities” and for “inspiring many young, ambitious earthlings.” He has received other awards, including the naming of Asteroid 41795 WIENS.

To receive the Zoom link a day before the event, sign up on the MJC webpage: http//

The Modesto Area Partners in Science (MAPS) lecture series has presented to the community since 1990 to foster science education in our community for youths through adults. Once a month during the academic year, MAPS offers stimulating free science programming, bringing educators and local citizens into contact with scientists and their mind-expanding ideas.

For more information about the MAPS program, contact: Catherine Tripp at