Public Invited to Participate in Mars Exploration for World Space Week

Posted on: 07 October 2013

A comet-making workshop, 3D flight simulations over Mars and an audience with a NASA space scientist are among the highlights of World Space Week are being celebrated in Trinity College Dublin this week until October 10th. 

Exploring Mars, Discovering Earth is the theme for World Space Week 2013. To mark the week the Department of Geography in the School of Natural Sciences in Trinity has put together a packed programme of free talks, tours, interactive exhibits and workshops designed to encourage the public to participate in current debates about the exploration of Mars.

The exciting programme commenced with a family day on Saturday, October 5th, which featured a host of exhibitions and talks for spaces enthusiasts of all ages. Throughout the week Trinity scientists, who are actively engaged in space research, will deliver public lectures on topics ranging from The First Steps of Planetary Formation to How Robots are Revolutionising Planetary Exploration. 

See the full programme here: 

Highlights of the programme include:

  • An audience with a NASA Mission Scientist. Broadcaster Leo Enright will interview Trinity graduate Dr Paul Byrne who is working at the Carnegie Institution of Washington on NASA’S MESSENGER Mission to Mercury. His work focuses on the geology of volcanos on Mars.
  • Comet-Making Workshop: Grab a lab coat, put on some safety goggles and gloves and learn a super-secret recipe for creating a “Dirty Snowball” – a very good model of what a real comet in space looks like.
  • Mars on Earth: Lecture by Professor Mary Bourke, Department of Geography, Trinity College will explain how despite the fleet of Orbiters, Rovers and Landers on Mars, our fundamental understanding of other planetary surfaces comes from looking at environments here on Earth.
  • Exhibitions: Including a show-and-tell of some of the robots and robotic devices that are currently being developed in Trinity and an exhibition of meteorites and impact rocks will allow you to pick up and learn how to identify rocks that have that have landed on Earth from our solar system.
  • 3D flight Simulations of Mars: Zoom through canyons, glide over crater walls and flow around Martian sand dunes. Citizen Science Workshop: Join scientists from the Astrophysics Research Group as they showcase Ireland’s first citizen science project that collaborates with the world-leading
  • Zooniverse project to contribute to understanding of sunspots and space weather. 

“Mars has always fascinated us and this event allows us to show our passion for this research and how we’re trying to answer questions like ‘Are there habitats that could sustain life on Mars?’ This week also gives us the opportunity to showcase the research being undertaken in Trinity which is helping us to learn more about Mars and, in turn, provide us with a new perspective on our own planet,” commented Professor Mary Bourke of the Geography Department, Trinity College Dublin.

World Space Week is an international celebration of science and technology, and their contribution to the betterment of the human condition. The week is held each year from October 4th – 10th to commemorate two significant dates – October 4th, 1957, when the first human-made Earth satellite, Sputnik 1, was launched and October 10th, 1967, when the Outer Space Treaty was signed.

For media queries please contact Yolanda Kennedy, Press Officer, Trinity College Dublin at or tel: + 353 1 8963551.