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Life Elsewhere in the Solar System

Gary L. Peterson will give a special guest lecture, “Is there life elsewhere in the solar system?” at the San Bernardino County Museum in Redlands on Wednesday, September 28 at 7:30 p.m. The lecture is free and open to the public.

The United States and Russia have long-term Solar System exploration programs. These undertakings have provided detailed imaging at a variety of scales of all planets and major satellites except Pluto/Charon. Many more NASA projects are currently underway. Landings on Venus (Russia), Mars (U. S.) and the Moon (Russia and U. S.) greatly enriched the available imagery with rock samples and/or analyses.

How is this voluminous information to be interpreted? The only way to comprehend most of it is to place it within the context of our understanding of the Earth. That field of endeavor is Planetary Geology. The persons most adept at interpreting features of other planets and satellites would be those who are most adept at interpreting similar features on the Earth.

“With respect to the question of the possibility of life (or life of the past) on the other planets, the only way to answer is to understand earthly life, to see what requirements are essential, and to examine the other planets to see if those requirements are met or have been met in the past,” explained Peterson.

Dr. Peterson is Professor of Geology at San Diego State University. He is a graduate of the University of Colorado, Boulder and earned advanced degrees at the University of Washington, Seattle. A member of the Planetary Society and a Fellow of the Geological Society of America, he has also been a visiting scholar at Stanford University, chair of the Department of Geological Sciences at San Diego State University, and visiting professor of geology at the University of Montana, Missoula.

“I enjoy public speaking and consider it a service to the university and community,” said Peterson. “Planetary Geology has become a passion and I enjoy sharing that passion. I like meeting people with similar interests and exchanging observations and ideas. Offering public lectures is an excellent way of accomplishing those goals.”

The San Bernardino County Museum is at the California Street exit from Interstate 10 in Redlands. For more information, visit or call (909) 307-2669 / TDD/TTY: (909) 792-1462.

The San Bernardino County Museum is accessible to persons with disabilities. If assistive listening devices or other auxiliary aids are needed in order to participate in museum exhibits or programs, requests should be made through Museum Visitor Services at least three business days prior to your visit. Visitor Services’ telephone number is (909) 307-2669 ext. 229 / TDD/TTY: (909) 792-1462.


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San Bernardino County Museum - (909) 307-2669 - 2024 Orange Tree Lane, Redlands, California 92374 TDD/TYY: (909) 792-1462

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