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For the Love of Mars: A Human History of the Red Planet with Smithsonian Curator Matt Shindell

Mon, June 3 @ 2:00 pm3:00 pm

For the Love of Mars: A Human History of the Red Planet with Smithsonian Curator Matt Shindell

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Mars and its secrets have fascinated and mystified humans since ancient times. Due to its vivid color and visibility, geologic kinship with Earth, and potential as our best hope for settlement, Mars embodies everything that inspires us about space and exploration. For the Love of Mars surveys the red planet’s place in the human imagination, beginning with ancient astrologers and skywatchers and ending in our present moment of exploration and virtual engagement.

You’re invited to come learn alongside Matt Shindell, National Air and Space Museum curator, as he introduces viewers to historical figures across eras and around the world who have made sense of this mysterious planet. Shindell will highlight historical figures such as:

  • Mayan astrologer priests who incorporated Mars into seasonal calendars and religious ceremonies;
  • Babylonian astrologers who discerned bad omens;
  • figures of the Scientific Revolution who struggled to comprehend it as a world;
  • Victorian astronomers who sought signs of intelligent life; and
  • 20th- and 21st-century scientists who have established a technological presence on its surface.

Along the way, we will encounter writers and artists from each period who take readers and viewers on imagined journeys to Mars.

By focusing on the diverse human stories behind the telescopes and behind the robots we know and love, Shindell will show how Mars exploration has evolved in ways that have also expanded knowledge about other facets of the universe. Register now for this captivating voyage through time!

About the Author: Matthew Shindell, Ph.D., is a historian of science with a background in science studies. He is Curator of Earth and Planetary Science at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum. He is responsible for the Museum’s collection of spacecraft, instruments, and other artifacts related to the exploration and study of our Earth and solar system. He co-hosts the Museum’s podcast, AirSpace. He curated the Museum’s permanent exhibition, Exploring the Planets, and is leading a curatorial team developing the exhibition Futures in Space. Shindell is the author of For the Love of Mars: A Human History of the Red Planet (2023) and The Life and Science of Harold C. Urey (2019), coauthor of Spaceships (2023), Our Future in Space (2023), and Discerning Experts (2019), and co-editor of Smithsonian American Women (2019).

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Details

Date:
Mon, June 3
Time:
2:00 pm–3:00 pm
Event Categories:
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All Kalamazoo Public Library events are free and open to the public unless otherwise indicated in the event description. A library card is not required to attend. Events where space is limited may require prior registration or a free ticket to attend. Registration and ticket requirements are indicated in the event description. Patrons who require special accommodations can submit their request to the event coordinator by calling 269-553-7800 or emailing [email protected].

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