To complement the touring exhibition Mars Quest, that is currently at the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester, a series of open lectures has been arranged. Publicity has been a little last minute, although I can tell you David Kirby’s talk last night was excellent and well received. There is an admission charge, but this covers entrance to the exhibition and car parking is free. Telephone 0161 833 0027 to reserve your place.

Tuesday 6 June Red Planet, Silver Screen: Representations of Mars in Cinema David A. Kirby PhD, Lecturer of Science Communication, Centre for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine, University of Manchester. Hollywood has been fascinated with our red neighbour since the earliest days of cinema. David Kirby explores the depiction of Mars in cinema, from Thomas Edison’s early film ‘A Trip to Mars’ (1910) to its latest cinematic incarnations in ‘Mission to Mars’ (2000) and ‘Doom’ (2005).

Tuesday 20 June Looking for Life on Mars Prof. Monica M. Grady, Planetary and Space Sciences Research Institute, The Open University. In her talk, Monica Grady will consider what we know about Mars, both from space missions and from Martian meteorites. She will also discuss results from recent space missions and whether analyses carried out on the Martian surface show that the Red Planet is a dead planet — or whether it is alive!

Tuesday 4 July What Does a Martian Look Like? Prof. Jack Cohen, internationally-known reproductive biologist. Co-author of the book, What Does a Martian Look Like; the science of extra-terrestrial life. There are two simple answers and both could be true: like bacteria, or — if life developed first on Mars and jumped to Earth — like us! Neither answer is illuminating. This talk will discuss how recent advances in evolutionary biology can tell us the likelihood of biological innovations on this planet, which we can argue to other evolutions.

Tuesday 18 July The Search for Life Beyond Our Solar System Ian Morison, Co-ordinator of SETI, Jodrell Bank. Since the 1960s, radio astronomers have been searching for signals from ET. Find out how we have been attempting this task and what prospects there are of finding evidence of simple lifeforms in nearby planetary systems.

Tuesday 5 September We’re All Going to Die! Lembit Opik, MP. In his usual energetic and entertaining style, find out about Lembit Opik’s campaign to get the Government to take seriously the threat of cosmic collisions by comets and asteroids — the science behind the issue and what happens next if we want to avoid Armageddon!

Tuesday 19 September First Humans on Mars — Will they Survive? Kevin Fong, Honorary lecturer in physiology at University College London. Later this century the first humans will set foot on the surface of Mars. The crews will be truly alone experiencing the ravages of weightlessness, radiation and the claustrophobia of space craft life. They will have for their protection the cutting-edge of all that science and technology has to offer. But will it be enough? In his talk, Kevin Fong discusses the problems we will face trying to protect the first Martian astronauts.


The Museum of Science and Industry is situated on Liverpool Road, minutes from Manchester City Centre.

MarsQuest exhibition open from 5.30pm. Lectures start at 6.30pm in the Cardwell Auditorium — duration 1 hour. Admission charge £3.00 per person – which includes free car parking and admission to the MarsQuest exhibition. Cash bar available. Tel: 0161 833 0027 to reserve your place.

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