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Assembly Series

A tradition of convening thought leaders since 1953

McKelvey School of Engineering

Brown School

Bringing Mars Samples Back to Earth: the 2023 Robert M. Walker Distinguished Lecture

Thursday, October 26, 2023 | 7:00 PM

Uncas A. Whitaker Hall, 100
6760 Forest Park Pkwy, St. Louis, MO 63105, USA

The planet Mars has fascinated humans for centuries. It is only recently that robotic orbiters, landers, and rovers have allowed us to explore Mars in ever increasing detail. Some of our biggest questions relating to the formation and planetary-scale evolution of Mars, including its geologic and climate evolution, the history of water and volatiles, and the potential for the development of life in its ancient past, can only be addressed by detailed analyses of martian samples in state-of-the-art laboratories. The campaign to return Mars samples to Earth is underway with the collection of samples by the Mars 2020 Perseverance rover. The Mars Sample Return program represents the next phase. Wadhwa will talk about samples that have been collected so far and those that are expected to be collected in the near future, the scientific motivations for bringing these samples back, and how and when they are planned to be returned.

Event Type

Lectures & Presentations


Arts & Sciences


Science & Technology



McDonnell Center for the Space Sciences


Event Contact


Speaker Information

Meenakshi Wadhwa, School Director and Foundation Professor, School Of Earth and Space Exploration at Arizona State University

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