Florida Tech’s Batcheldor Talks Mars at WMFE Event May 10 in Orlando

Astrophysicist Joins NASA Scientists
at Free Panel Discussion      

MELBOURNE, FLA. — Florida Institute of Technology astrophysicist Daniel Batcheldor and two NASA scientists will discuss the challenges facing Mars’ first inhabitants as the Orlando-based NPR station 90.7 WMFE presents “How to Survive on Mars: Exploring the technology that will save the first Martians.”

The event begins at 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 10, at WMFE studios, 11510 E. Colonial Drive in Orlando. It is free to attend but RSVPs are requested. Visit www.wmfe.org/speaker-series-how-to-survive-on-mars to respond.

Hosted by the station’s space reporter, Brendan Byrne, the panel discussion will focus on how the Red Planet’s lack of fuel, oxygen or food has led researchers and engineers on Earth to explore how best to use what the planet offers and “turn it into much-needed food, water and life-saving oxygen.”

Batcheldor, head of Florida Tech’s Department of Physics and Space Sciences, is working on developing a near-identical version of Martian soil, called regolith, to allow accurate research into growing crops on Mars.

Joining him on the panel will be NASA’s Nicole Dufour, project manager for VEGGIE. She oversees the VEGGIE experiment, a garden of vegetables on the International Space Station. There, astronauts are growing lettuce and cabbage and learning vital lessons about plant growth in microgravity.

Anne Meier, a chemical engineer with NASA’s Engineer, Exploration Research & Technology Programs, rounds out the panel. She is transforming trash into vital gases like methane, oxygen and water. This trash-to-gas technology could produce gases that can be used for life support on long-duration missions.

For more information or to register, visit http://www.wmfe.org/speaker-series-how-to-survive-on-mars.


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