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Christine Rodrigue, Ph.D – Geography of Mars

20 May at 7:30 pm 9:30 pm

The Geography of Mars, creating a Mental Map of Martian Landscapes. Mental maps are nested constructs, with smaller areas fitting into larger ones, each level filling in with details as people study maps, travel around, read, watch movies and shows, and hear news.  Geographers are fascinated by these nested mental structures and there’s a long cottage industry in systematizing such pedagogical schemes for the whole planet, often called the “orders of relief.”

The talk will include a bit about how I wound up on Mars from a career in hazards and biogeography.  NASA had gotten wind of one of my hazards projects, the use of the then-new Internet to organize a massive protest against the launch of the Cassini-Huygens mission to the Saturnian system (plutonium on board).  In 2001, they invited me to present this to five of their centres and then asked if I would follow the similar controversies boiling up against the planned Mars Sample Return Lander. I agreed and started studying Mars to acquire the background for that project.