February 14, 2017
Speaker – Dr. John Spear,
Colorado School of Mines Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering
This talk will focus on research sites located at Canada’s Ellesmere Island and Muscat, Oman—locations that help scientists further research on far-flung locations like Jupiter’s moon Europa and planet Mars.
Borup Fiord Pass, Ellesmere Island, Nunavut, Canada is an amazing site and model for Europa. It also is a remarkable location for explaining, tracking and better understanding the effects of Climate Change, which is causing the disappearance of this site.
The area west of Muscat, Oman, provides a model site for better understanding the origin of life and how to find life on places like Mars. Research on the biogeochemistry of the subsurface is possible in this unique location, the only site of its kind on planet Earth.
Both of these projects are funded by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and Dr. Spear’s work takes him to both of these sites—with a departure for Oman scheduled a few days after his Golden Beer Talks appearance!
John is a 25 year resident of Golden, Colorado and a professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the Colorado School of Mines. Though buried in an engineering department and school, he is really an environmental microbiologist who specializes in life in ‘extreme’ environments having done a lot of work in places like Yellowstone National Park, the bottom the Henderson Mine in Empire, Colorado and Baja California. John also thinks about research, campus wide at Mines, as an Associate Vice President for Research. John likes to ski, and was probably skiing this morning. In Golden, he was one of the founders of the Golden Resource for Education, Arts and Theater (GREAT), which now lives on as the Colorado Environmental Film Festival at the American Mountaineering Center in February.