A decade after they landed on the surface of Mars, rovers Spirit and Opportunity continue to explore the Red Planet and send back valuable information for scientists. One of the leaders of the NASA Mars Exploration Rover Project will be in Casper for a free public lecture. Through the generous support of the Natrona County School District's Discover Program, Dr. James Rice will give a free public presentation on Mars at the Casper Planetarium on Thursday, May 8 at 7 p.m.

Dr. Rice, is an Astrogeologist with over 25 years research experience specializing in the exploration of the Solar System, especially the Moon and Mars. His career includes working for NASA, The Astrogeology Headquarters of the United States Geological Survey, the Mars Spaceflight Facility and the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory.

Rice is a Co-Investigator and Geology Team Leader on the NASA Mars Exploration Rover Project (Spirit and Opportunity). He also has NASA mission experience working on the Mars Odyssey Orbiter and Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Projects. Dr. Rice has been involved in Mars landing site selection and certification activities for every NASA Mars Mission since Mars Pathfinder in 1995.

Additionally, Dr. Rice has extensive geological field experience (over 20 years experience in Antarctica, High Arctic, Iceland, and Hawaii) studying a wide variety of Mars and Moon analog environments. He has been a leader and team member on numerous international geological field expeditions around the world including a 6 month long joint NASA/Russian expedition to Antarctica. This work included being a member of the SCUBA diving team to first investigate the perennially frozen lakes of eastern Antarctica. Rice has also served on numerous NASA Science Analysis Groups for manned missions back to the Moon and Mars. He has also trained and briefed NASA astronauts in geology and Mars exploration.

For more information about Discover or Dr. Rice's visit, contact Lori Burns at (307) 253-5394.