One of the Mars rovers roaming the surface of the red planet. Photo courtesy NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

National Geographic Live takes a journey to red planet

Guest speaker Kobie Boykins from NASA offers insider’s view of Mars explorations May 8

For those mystified by Mars, an upcoming talk at the Royal Theatre will provide plenty of juicy details.

NASA mechanical engineer Kobie Boykins offers an insider’s view of life in the Mars exploration program during his National Geographic Live presentation, Exploring Mars, May 8 at the Royal Theatre. Photo courtesy NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Kobie Boykins, a mechanical engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, will be in town May 8 to wind up this year’s National Geographic Live series with his presentation, Exploring Mars. Boykins helped design and build the solar arrays that enabled the successful deployment of the Mars exploration rovers Spirit and Opportunity in 2004.

Both rolled across the Martian surface and geology, sending information back to Earth on a wide range of rocks and soils that hold clues to past water activity on Mars. Spirit roamed the planet surface until it became stuck in soft soil in 2009, while Opportunity stayed active until June 2018, achieving the longest distance driven by any off-Earth wheeled vehicle.

Boykins, now a supervisor of the mobility and remote sensing mast teams for the Mars Science Laboratory, will speak about this historical mission, as well as the current Curiosity rover, which landed on Mars in 2012 and is currently investigating Martian climate and geology, along with studies in preparation for human exploration.

With a deep knowledge base and boundless enthusiasm for unravelling the mysteries of outer space, Boykins has been described as having an infectious attitude as he shares his fascination with the red planet.

Tickets for this Wednesday night show go on sale May 2, but student rush tickets will be available on the day of the talk through the box office, subject to availability. More information can be found at rmts.bc.ca.

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