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Mars - a different perspective on a cold-climatic environment


Photo: ESA/DLR/FU Berlin/J. Cowart - The icy north polar cap of Mars as seen from the European spacecraft Mars Express


Martin Voelker, a geographer and planetary scientist from Germany, invites you for a talk about the cold-climatic environment of our neighboring planet Mars.

The talk will focus on the similarities and differences of Earth and Mars in order to show that planetary exploration is not as notional and fictional as often thought.

Moreover, the most important scientific findings on Mars are presented, like glaciers in its higher latitudes, channels that are assumed to be formed by water, and dunes emplaced by wind.

The end of the presentation will explain the social significance of planetary exploration.

  • Why is it important to study astronomy and planetary science?
  • What does the search for life outside of Earth mean for any man or woman here on Earth?
  • And how could the people of Greenland support and benefit from this research?

Martin Voelker has worked for the European Space Agency (ESA) as a postdoctoral research fellow in Spain. He was part of the successful Mars Express mission - a satellite that orbits Mars since 2003.

His research at ESA focused on the geography of cold-climatic landforms on Mars in order to determine potential "climate zones". In 2020, he successfully requested the naming of a Martian crater after the Greenlandic town of Qaqortoq (the first crater on Mars named in Kalallisut language), to raise awareness of planetary science in Greenland.

During his PhD studies at the German Aerospace Center (DLR), he analysed the deepest impact basin on Mars (Hellas Planitia), and the role of water in its history. Martin also attended an analogue mission to Svalbard in 2016, for comparing glacial landforms on Earth with those observed on Mars.

As a studied geographer, he also participated in terrestrial studies like in Germany (research on coastal development), Libya (analysis of dust storm deposits), and Kyrgyzstan (risk evaluation of glacial outbursts).

  • When: 07 December, at 16.30 - 18.00
  • Where: auditorium at Ilisimatusarfik campus Ilimmarfik

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