Sign-up for tickets here.
A talk by Professor Stephen Lewis
Venus, Earth and Mars all have active and changing atmospheres, important not least in determining whether each planet is suitable for life. Earth today is a vibrant blue planet, teeming with life, while Venus is hot enough to melt lead and has a toxic atmosphere, and Mars is frozen and dry, with no liquid water at the surface. But this has not always been the case: over four billion years ago, Earth was not the most welcoming home for life to begin. In this talk Stephen Lewis will discuss the role played by the weather and climate on each planet, how this is important for spacecraft exploration today and why understanding other planets can tell us more about the Earth. The talk will describe some of the science behind The Planets TV series, first shown on BBC 2 in May and June.
About the speaker
Stephen Lewis is the Professor of Atmospheric Physics and Deputy Head of the School of Physical Sciences at The Open University. His research interests include studying the dynamics and climate of planetary atmospheres and the interpretation of spacecraft atmospheric observations through modelling. He has worked on subjects including Mars, Venus, the Giant Planets, extrasolar planets and the paleoclimate of the Earth. Presently, he is Co-Principal Investigator for AMELIA (Atmospheric Mars Entry and Landing Investigation and Analysis) on ESA ExoMars 2016 and 2020, and a Co-Investigator for two instruments in orbit about Mars today: NOMAD (Nadir and Occultation for MArs Discovery) aboard ESA/RosCosmos ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter and MCS (Mars Climate Sounder) aboard NASA Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Prof Lewis is a member of the NASA ‘Council of Atmospheres’ who made successful forecasts for the entry, descent and landing of Mars Curiosity (2012) and are now planning for Mars 2020 as well as participating in the NASA InSight atmospheres working group. He has been the OU Nominated Academic for BBC television programmes on weather, the Earth and planetary science, most recently for ‘The Planets’, BBC2, May–June 2019.