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NASA Ambassador to Discuss Planet Mars at East Bank Regional Library August 22nd

JEFFERSON – NASA Ambassador John Martinez will give a presentation titled “What’s New on Planet Mars?” at 7 p.m., Tuesday, Aug. 22, at the East Bank Regional Library, 4747 W. Napoleon Ave., Metairie.

This event is free of charge and open to the public. There is not registration.

Humans first attempted to reach Mars near the dawn of the space age. The USSR made multiple attempts in the 1960s to reach the Red Planet, and NASA soon followed with its Mariner 3 spacecraft. None of these early missions reached their target, or even got close, according to the NASA historical log of all Mars missions.

NASA’s Mariner 4 spacecraft launched on Nov. 28, 1964, and was the first to fly by the planet on July 14, 1965. It sent 21 photos of its target back to Earth. Two days after Mariner 4 launched, the Soviet Union tried again with Zond 2. The spacecraft passed by Mars, but its radio failed and it did not return any planetary data.

Martinez says that things have changed quite a bit since the early attempts to get to Mars. He will discuss some of the following issues.

  • After working more than a decade on the Martian surface, NASA’s Curiosity rover has finally made an unexpected discovery about the presence of water on the planet.
  • An international team of researchers with NASA’s InSight mission located four new craters created by impacts on the surface of Mars.
  • Near the rim of Endeavor Crater, the Mars rover Opportunity found bright-colored veins of gypsum in the rocks. These rocks likely formed when water flowed through underground fractures in the rocks, leaving calcium behind.
  • New images from NASA’s Perseverance rover reveal evidence of a powerful river on Mars, possibly deeper and faster-moving than previously known.

Martinez will also discuss the possibility of a future human presence on Mars, as well as projects on the planet by other countries, including China and Japan, and European consortiums.

For more information regarding this event, contact Chris Smith, Manager of Adult Programming for the library, at 504-889-8143 or

The Jefferson Parish Library system consists of 16 locations that stretch from the Lakeshore Branch on the edge of Lake Pontchartrain to the Grand Isle Branch just steps away from the Gulf of Mexico. The library system consists of two large regional libraries and seven branches on each side of the Mississippi River. The East Bank Regional Library (4747 West Napoleon Avenue, Metairie) serves as library headquarters. The Jefferson Parish Library is the second largest system in the state of Louisiana. More than 200 employees work for the Jefferson Parish Library including librarians, administration and support staff. For more information, contact the library at (504) 838-1100 or

For more information about Jefferson Parish, visit Residents can also receive regular updates by following the Parish on FacebookTwitter YoutubeJPTV and Instagram (@JeffParishGov) or by texting JPALERT or JPNOTICIAS to 888-777.


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