Public Lecture

AGU holds an annual public lecture on a hot topic in Earth and/or space science at its annual meeting in San Francisco.


The 2014 Public Lecture on The MAVEN Mission to Mars, and will be held on Sunday, December 14th from 12-1PM in the Marriott Marquis on 4th and Mission St.

The Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) mission was launched in November 2013 and it has arrived and is orbiting Mars!  It will orbit the planet, and study the top of its atmosphere and how it interacts with sunlight and with the solar wind; the goal is to understand where the water and CO2 from an earlier atmosphere went.  At the Public Lecture, a panel of experts will discuss the mission science concept, science observations made during the cruise to get there, observations of Comet Siding Spring (which makes a close approach to Mars in October 2014), and early observations of the Mars upper atmosphere. They will also go into detail about how the spacecraft was developed and launched, and the day-to-day operations as it orbits Mars.


Meet the Panelists for the 2014 Public Lecture

Bruce Jakosky, Principle Investigator

Bruce Jakosky is Associate Director for Science in the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, and Professor of Geological Sciences, at the University of Colorado in Boulder.  He is the Principal Investigator on the MAVEN mission, and has a strong interest in Martian surface geology, climate, climate evolution, and the coupling between components of the Martian environmental system.



Sandra Cauffman, Deputy Project Manager

Mrs. Cauffman was the Deputy Project Manager for the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) Mission, which is a NASA mission launched to the red planet on November of 2013. The satellite arrived at Mars on September 22, 2014 and will enter the Science Phase on November 15, 2014.  Past positions included Assistant Director for Flight Projects Directorate at Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC), Deputy Project Manager for the GOES-R (Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite) Program.  Mrs. Cauffman has been awarded the NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal and the NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal. She is four times recipient of the NASA Acquisition Improvement Award. She is a Senior Fellow with the Council for Excellence in Government.  She received a B.S. in Physics, a B.S in Electrical Engineering and a M.S. in Electrical Engineering, all from George Mason University. Mrs. Cauffman was born in Costa Rica and is fluent in Spanish.



Roger Yelle, Interdisciplinary Scientist

Roger Yelle studies the atmospheres in our solar system and the atmospheres of extra-solar planets. He analyzes telescopic and spacecraft data and constructs theories and models to determine the composition and structure of atmospheres and their interaction with surfaces and interplanetary space. On the panel, Dr. Yelle will speak about observations of Comet Siding Spring.



View the 2013 Public Lecture by earthquake expert Lucile Jones below

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Dr. Lucile Jones, Science Advisor for Risk Reduction with the United States Geological Survey, delivered the American Geophysical Union’s annual public lecture Imagine an America without Los Angeles: Natural Hazards and the Complexity of Urban America at the 2013 Fall Meeting in San Francisco.

Read more about Dr. Jones in this Eos article



Watch our 2012 public lecture Curiosity Driven Mars Exploration including interviews with panelists Michael Meyer, John Grotzinger, and Rebecca Williams.




Andrew FeustelWatch our 2011 public lecture, Adventures of a (Geoscientist) Astronaut: Nuts, Bolts, and Repairs in Earth Orbit given by Astronaut Andrew Feustel.