For Immediate Release
Contact: David Jwanier, media relations associate, 610-740-3790

NASA Scientist to Discuss Mars Mission at Cedar Crest College  

Allentown, Pa. (Oct. 18, 2012)—With the success of the recent Mars Rover Curiosity landing, the College is bringing someone from NASA to campus to provide some insight on space exploration. Jennifer Stern, Ph.D., space scientist at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center’s Planetary Environments Laboratory, will present a lecture on Thursday, Nov. 15, at 7:30 p.m. in Alumnae Hall. The program is free to the public.

Stern’s lab specializes in studying the atmosphere and surface of Mars, and developing instruments to make geochemical measurements on planetary surfaces. She is a member of the science team for the Mars Science Laboratory Rover Curiosity, which landed in Gale Crater on Mars in August 2012. She is also a team member on the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) Instrument Suite, one of the 10 instruments on Curiosity, which uses mass and laser spectrometry to measure the chemical composition of the atmosphere and surface of Mars.

Stern has a B.A. in geology/biology from Brown University and a Ph.D. in geochemistry from Florida State University, where she developed analytical techniques for stable carbon and oxygen isotope and trace metal analysis of environmental waters. She decided to apply her interest in stable isotopes to astrobiology as a postdoctoral fellow at NASA Ames Research Center and NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

Of Stern’s visit to campus, Marianne Staretz, associate professor and department chair of chemical and physical sciences at Cedar Crest, said: “Mars exploration is a topic of great interest to so many people, and we are thrilled to have a scientist who is an integral part of this exploration work share her knowledge with us. I am also excited that our students studying chemistry can see another way that their growing knowledge of chemistry can be used. Using chemistry to study the surface of Mars—who wouldn’t want to do that?”

For information or the register call 610-606-4666, ext. 3511.

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