Michael H. Carr, U.S. Geological Survey

Water on Mars - what have we learned from the Mars Rovers?

  • DINNER MEETING - Tuesday, April 11, 2006
  • Location: Stanford University

  • 5:30 PM-Social (3/4) Hour: . . . Mitchell Bldg., first floor (Hartley)
  • 6:15 PM-Dinner: . . . Mitchell Bldg., first floor (Hartley)
  • 7:30 PM-Meeting: . . . GeoCorner Room 320-105

    see Map showing Mitchell and GeoCorner Room 320

    Anyone wishing to attend the lecture only is welcome at no cost.

    This will be the 379th meeting since 1954

    photo of surface of mars showing water-cut banks
    Sedimentary rock layers like these in Mars's Holden Crater suggest that the Red Planet was once home to ancient lakes (Image source: Viking Orbiter Mosaic, U.S. Geological Survey; NASA's Web site)

    Mike Wrote the Book on This Subject has this to say:

    Mars has always held a special interest because of the possibility that life may have existed there, and its water history is crucial to understanding its geology, climatology, and biology. Moreover, recent studies in molecular phylogeny suggest that volcanic hot springs, which may have been common in early Mars, are also the most likely point of origin for life on Earth. In this book, Dr. Carr explores the history of water on Mars, including evidence that liquid water was once abundant at the planet's surface; ways in which the climate might have changed to accommodate liquid water; and what an abundance of water implies for the formation of Mars and other planets, including Earth. The book's argument rests on interpretation of data acquired on Viking missions, and on information from meteorites, found on Earth, that almost certainly originated on Mars. Because liquid water is universally regarded as essential for life, the water story has particular biological significance, with important implications for the future exploration of the planet, and should be a valuable study for geologists and planetary scientists.

    About the Speaker

    cover of book showing red image

    Michael Carr is a geologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, Menlo Park, California. He is an Interdisciplinary Scientist on the Mars Global Surveyor mission and a member of the Galileo Imaging Team. Since joining the Geological Survey in 1962, he has been involved almost exclusively in lunar and planetary studies. After participating in the selection of the Apollo landing sites and analysis of returned lunar samples, he focused mainly on Mars. He was a member of the Mariner-9 imaging team and leader of the Viking Orbiter Imaging team. He received a Distinguished Service Award from the Department of Interior, the G. K. Gilbert Award from the Geological Society of America, and the National Air and Space Museum Medal for Lifetime Achievement in Air and Space Science and Technology. Dr. Carr received a B.Sc. from the University of London and a Ph.D. from Yale University, both in Geology. He has written over 150 papers about Mars and two widely used books, the Surface of Mars and Water on Mars. He has chaired many planning groups, most recently one looking into how NASA should prepare for return of samples from Mars. Dr. Carr is a Fellow of the Geological Society of America and the American Geophysical Union.

    Reservations: The preferred way to make reservations is simply to email Janice Sellers at by April 7, tell her you will attend, commit to pay, and bring your payment to the meeting. Janice always emails a confirmation; if you don't get one, assume email crashed yet again and email her a second time. A check made to "PGS" is preferred, payable at the meeting.

    If you want to pay in advance:

    Stanford faculty and students: Please make dinner reservations by April 7. Contact Dr. Elizabeth Miller via her mailbox (and leave check), Geological and Environmental Sciences Office, Geocorner - Bldg. 320 (Rm. 205). Make checks out to "PGS."

    All others, including faculty and students from other Bay Area universities and colleges and USGS: Please make dinner reservations by April 7. Contact Janice Sellers, at 1066 28th Street, Oakland, CA 94608-4547, (510) 268-8254 . Send check made out to "PGS" to Janice.

    Dinner is $30.00. Includes wine (5:30 to 6:15 PM.) and dinner (6:15-7:30 PM.).

    For students from all universities and colleges, the dinner, including the social 3/4-hour, is $5.00 and is partially subsidized thanks to the School of Earth Sciences, Stanford University (Note, no-show reservations owe the full price).

    Doris, whose wonderful crew prepares our meals, asked that we let you know that people who are late RSVP'ing and people who show up without a reservation will be welcome but that they will be eating on paper plates with plastic utensils (food supply permitting).

    Dues for Academic Year 2005-2006 ($10.00) should be sent to Janice Sellers, 1066 28th Street, Oakland, CA 94608-4547. Janice's phone: (510) 268-8254.

    Officers: Ray Wells, President; Dwight Harbaugh and Elizabeth Miller, Co-Vice Presidents; Mike Diggles, Secretary; Janice Sellers, Treasurer; Bob Coleman, Field-Trip Czar

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    Date created: March 20, 2006
    Last modified: March 20, 2006
    Created by: Mike Diggles, Webmaster-Secretary, PGS.

    c/o U.S. Geological Survey, MS-951, 345 Middlefield Road, Menlo Park, CA 94025. (650) 329-5404. email Mike Diggles at

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