Mars Exploration Topic of Final Sánchez Lecture Series

Mars Project Director to Discuss Exploration
at TAMIU's A.R. Sánchez Lecture

The final installation of Texas A&M International University's 2004-2005 A.R. Sánchez Sr. Distinguished Lecture Series will highlight research on Mars by Dr. Firouz Naderi on Tuesday, April 12, at 7 p.m. in the Center for the Fine and Performing Arts Recital Hall. (photo)

Admission to the lecture is free and open to the public.

Dr. Naderi is currently the head of Jet Propulsion Laboratory's (JPL) Mars Exploration Program, which includes a chain of scientifically and technologically interrelated projects with one or more spacecraft launched to Mars every 26 months. He also serves as director for the Solar System Exploration Programs and chairs JPL's Strategic Management Council.

Naderi's lecture, titled "Exploring Mars," will provide an overview of the project's engineering complexities and will discuss how the similarities and differences between the Earth and Mars affect the planning for future human and robotic missions to explore Mars.

He is charged with determining if Mars is, or ever was, a habitat for life. During his tenure, three successful missions have orbited or landed on Mars including the recent two Mars rovers - Spirit and Opportunity.

"Mars is the most Earth-like of the planets in our solar system. It has the potential to have been an abode of life," Naderi said.

Prior to becoming the head of the Mars program, he spent four years as the program manager of the Origins Program - NASA's ambitious plan to search for other planets around other suns.

Naderi received his Ph.D. from the University of Southern California (USC) and has been with JPL for 25 years.

He is the recipient of a number of individual and group awards including Technology Hall of Fame medal, NASA's Outstanding Leadership Medal and the Liberal Prize from Italy.

The A. R. Sánchez Sr. Distinguished Lecture Series honors A.R. Sánchez Sr. (1916-1992), a celebrated member of the Laredo community known for his philanthropic efforts, work ethic and generosity.

For more information on the Lecture Series, please contact the Office of the Dean of TAMIU's College of Arts and Sciences at 326.2460 or visit offices in the Sue and Radcliffe Killam Library, room 429.

For more information on Naderi, please visit http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/bios/naderi/

Journalists who need additional information or help with media requests and interviews should contact the Office of Public Affairs and Information Services at pais@tamiu.edu