Peter Smith, the Thomas R. Brown Distinguished Chair in Integrative Science at the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory of the University of Arizona, will visit West Virginia University as a Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar.

He will present a public lecture on “The Next Phase of Martian Exploration: the Search for Life” at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 8 in 260 Hodges Hall. Smith will also meet with students and faculty in the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Engineering and Mineral Resources and will take part in a Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering class.

Smith was recently awarded the American Geographical Society’s prestigious Cullum Geographical Medal and NASA’s Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal. He has been a member of the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory since 1978 and has participated in many of NASA’s space missions that have explored the solar system including the Pioneer Venus and Saturn missions. Most recently, he was the principal investigator of the Phoenix mission, which landed a spacecraft in the polar region of Mars in the spring of 2008 and whose cameras have relayed more than 25,000 pictures. Information about the Phoenix mission, photos and video can be found at

Smith’s visit is sponsored by the WVU chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, the Eberly College and CEMR. The Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar Program contributes to the intellectual life of the campus by facilitating and exchanging ideas among visiting scholars, students, and faculty members.



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