As some of you may remember, Dr. Edward Guinan (an astrophysicist from Villanova University) came and spoke to our local Planetary Society group last December. He delivered an excellent talk on exoplanets, and on his personal research efforts in the discovery and characterization of Proxima Centauri C, which is the nearest habitable-zone exoplanet to our solar system. It was a wonderful opportunity to hear his expertise on the subject and we feel fortunate to have him as a supporter and contributor of our local group.
Dr. Guinan is also heavily involved in the biology department at Villanova. He currently teaches courses on astrobiology, and he and his team are exploring growing various types of plants in a simulated Martian environment — a Martian greenhouse laboratory. Dr. Guinan has graciously invited our local TPS members to his laboratory at Villanova to see their facilities and learn firsthand about his research on growing various types of plants under simulated Martian environmental conditions with various soil supplements. Such research is important if humans are to one day live on Mars.
The event will take place in the Dept. of Astronomy, on the fourth floor of the Mendel Science Building. Starting at 11:00 a.m. we will have a tour of the astronomy facilities and telescopes at Villanova, followed by lunch and refreshments graciously provided to us by the astronomy department. Then we’ll visit the Martian greenhouse laboratory and proceed to the department’s seminar room to hear a 45-minute presentation with Q&A by Dr. Guinan and his team on their research.