(EDWARDSVILLE, Ill) "Spirit and Opportunity" have always been prominent in the life of Steve Squyres, the NASA scientist best known as the face and voice of the Mars exploration mission including the pioneering and spectacular drive across the Red Planet's surface by two high-tech robotic rovers. As the acclaimed scientist and principal investigator of NASA's Mars Exploration Program from 1988 to 2004 when the mission came to fruition, Squyres will be on campus as part of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville's Arts & Issues series Feb. 17, with a theme of "Roving Mars: Spirit, Opportunity and the Exploration of the Red Planet." He will appear at 7:30 p.m. that Wednesday in Meridian Ballroom, on the first floor of SIUE's Morris University Center.
Squyres, who currently is the Goldwin Smith Professor of Astronomy at Cornell University, will detail to the Arts & Issues audience how he turned what seemed like an improbable dream into a successful $800 million reality. He will discuss the risks taken, the mistakes made and how the project's goals were ultimately achieved. Arts & Issues series Coordinator Grant Andree says he is excited about Squyres' presentation. "During Steve's appearance Feb. 17, the audience will enjoy never before seen photos of the Mars surface taken by those rovers," Andree said. "Our patrons may recall how similar NASA photos ignited a firestorm of interest in space exploration at the time of the mission.
"If you've never seen NASA's Mars photos before, you are in for a visual treat." In addition to his teaching duties at Cornell, Squyres has served as chair of the NASA Space Science Advisory Committee and participated in many of NASA's exploration missions. By applying his experience from the Mars mission in the corporate world, Squyres provides fresh approaches to managing large teams, working together under pressure and operating effectively in unpredictable environments.
Tickets for "Roving Mars: Spirit, Opportunity and the Exploration of the Red Planet" are $27; SIUE employees and retirees, as well as all senior citizens, $25; SIUE students, $13. Ticket information, subscription rates and ticket sales are available on the Web site: artsandissues.com, or by calling (618) 650-5774.