Halliday Lecture

The UC Santa Cruz Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics and the UC Observatories present the 13th Halliday Lecture.

"The search for life on other planets with an update from the Mars Curiosity Rover"

Dr. Christopher Mckay

Thursday May 23


Rio Theatre (1205 Soquel Avenue, Santa Cruz)


Go to:  santacruztickets.com

*We have a limited number of complimentary tickets available for UCSC students. Please visit the Department Office, ISB 211,  for more information.

Dr. Christopher P. McKay, Planetary Scientist with the Space Science Division of NASA Ames.
Chris is a research scientist with the NASA Ames Research Center. His current research focuses on the evolution of the solar system and the origin of life. He is also actively involved in planning for future Mars missions including human explorationDr Chris McKay.  Chris been involved in research in Mars-like environments on Earth, traveling to the Antarctic dry valleys, Siberia, the Canadian Arctic, and the Atacama, Namib, & Sahara deserts to study life in these Mars-like environments.  He was a co-investigator on the Huygens probe to Saturn’s moon Titan in 2005, the Mars Phoenix lander mission in 2008, and the current Mars Science Laboratory mission (2012).   

Mars Curiosity Rover rover has been operating on Mars for over 200 days. I will present our current status on the search for organics in the soil and the prospects for determining the habitability of the site. If we find organics on Mars, the next challenge will be to determine if they are of biological or non-biological origin. There are other worlds in the Solar System that are also of keen interest in the search for life: my favorite is Enceladus, a small moon of Saturn.

We seek your help and support

Originally created by a generous gift from benefactor John Halliday, this lively and engaging lecture series is designed for the general public. The series has hosted many prominent scientists, including British cosmologist and former President of the Royal Society, Martin Rees, the first American female astronaut, Sally Ride, and UC Berkeley astrophysicist and contributor to the History Channel's "Universe" programs, Alex Filippenko. This year's lecture has been generously sponsored by Steve Mandel and Carol Foote. The generous support of private donors maintains the lecture series, bringing the message and excitement of astronomy to scientists and lay citizens alike, while presenting the work of external and UCSC scientists to the community.

For more information on giving, call the Division's Development Office (831-459-2192) or email us.