SEA to Kick Off Fall Speaker Series Tuesday

The SSV Corwith Cramer.

FALMOUTH – The Sea Education Association will kick off its Fall Lecture Series this week.

Dr. James Garvin, the chief scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, will present “From Earth to Mars via Ocean Volcanoes and their Evolution” on Tuesday, September 10 at 5 p.m.

The lecture will be held at Sea Education Association’s James L. Madden Center Lecture Hall at 171 Woods Hole Road in Falmouth.

The event is free and open to the public.

Garvin will discuss how Hunga Tonga Hunga-Ha-apai, a newly formed volcanic island in the Kingdom of Tonga, promotes greater understanding of both Earth and Mars, along with how and why it offers an opportunity for future exploration.

A joint NASA/SEA team comprised of mostly undergraduate SEA Semester students sailed aboard the SSV Robert C. Seamans on a pathfinding mission to the island in October 2018.

The trip provided a rare opportunity to use newly-developed technology to gather data – on the ground, under the water, and from space – to better understand how a primeval landscape reacts to erosion in 3D.

Gavin said the data provides a useful guide as to how similar landscapes may have evolved on Mars when persistent surface waters may have influences volcanism.

A second, more comprehensive NASA/SEA “mission of discovery” is scheduled for this fall.

The collaboration may also help inform future space missions.

“The infusion of the powerful talents and capabilities of a student exploration team with the NASA scientists in the field and in the ‘back room’ in the USA (at NASA) will allow the sea-based mission to mimic aspects of how the future of deep space exploration at the Moon and then Mars will unfold for NASA’s new prime directive initiative known as ARTEMIS, as well as aspects of the upcoming Mars 2020 rover mission,” Garvin wrote.

SEA is an internationally recognized leader in undergraduate ocean education. Over the last 45 year, and more than 1 million nautical miles sailed.

SEA has educated students about the world’s oceans through its Boston University accredited study abroad program, SEA Semester.

SEA Semester is based on Cape Cod in the research community of Woods Hole. The SSV Corwith Cramer operates in the Atlantic Ocean, and the SSV Robert C. Seamans operates in the Pacific Ocean.

About Brian Merchant

Brian Merchant grew up in Central Massachusetts and now lives in South Dennis on the Cape. He has been part of the news team in the NewsCenter since the spring of 2014. He studied radio broadcasting at the University of Tennessee.
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