The Department of Geosciences presents

Geology Open Night

Fall 2015



Science and Exploration of the Moon enabled by Stony Brook's RIS4E Team


Tim Glotch


7:30  PM Friday 
September 18, 2015
ESS 001

Deciphering the Climate History of Mars through the Mineralogic Record

Deanne Rogers

7:30 PM Friday
October 23, 2015
ESS 001


Roving on Mars: Where we have been; Where we are; 
Where we are going

Scott McLennan

7:30 PM Friday
November 13, 2015
ESS 001


Earth and Space Sciences Building 
Lecture Hall (Room 001)
SUNY Stony Brook Campus

There will be Refreshments and Demonstrations after the Geology Open Night Presentations.

Admission is Free!!

Link here to be placed on the mail or e-mail list to receive announcements.

How do I get to the Earth and Space Sciences Building at SUNY Stony Brook?

Geology Open night lectures are usually on topics in the geosciences related to the current research of the faculty, staff and students at SUNY Stony Brook. These presentations are intended for:

  • those interested in new developments in the sciences

  • earth science high school students and teachers

  • undergraduate and graduate students in geosciences

  • professional geologists

One hour toward professional development is available for teachers and professional geologists attending the Geology Open Night lectures.


Science and Exploration of the Moon
enabled by
Stony Brook's RIS4E Tea

Timothy Glotch

7:30  PM Friday 
September 18, 2015
ESS 001

The Remote, In Situ, and Synchrotron Studies for Science and Exploration (RIS4E) team is one of nine nodes of NASA’s new Solar System Exploration and Research Virtual Institute. Our team is addressing key aspects of the science and exploration of the Moon and other Solar System bodies Using a comprehensive approach to better understand the spectral data of samples and surfaces, how we will one day safely explore those surfaces, and in turn maximize our measurements of all samples, especially small, precious returned samples, RIS4E will produce a wealth of information and a team of well-trained next generation scientists. This talk, as a celebration of International Observe the Moon Night, will provide an overview of the five-year RIS4E effort, which is divided into four main research themes. These themes are:

  1. Preparation for Exploration: Enabling Quantitative Remote Geochemical Analysis of Airless Bodies. The RIS4E team is engaging in studies of remote sensing targets of opportunity, and experimental and theoretical studies to optimize the interpretation of remote sensing data sets, including experimental space weathering studies, simulated lunar/asteroid environment spectroscopic measurements, and tests of advanced spectral unmixing techniques.

  2. Maximizing Exploration Opportunities: Development of Field Methods for Human Exploration. Science-motivated field work is helping us evaluate the role of handheld and portable field instruments for future human exploration of the Moon, enabling rapid, low-risk, comprehensive, and quantitative assessments of the local geology and regolith materials.

  3. Protecting our Explorers: Understanding How Planetary Surface Environments Impact Human Health. Future astronauts will be exposed to harsh environments on the Moon, with potentially harmful but unknown health effects. The RIS4E team is performing experiments to determine the reactivity and toxicity of lunar analog materials, and, eventually, actual lunar samples.

  4. Maximizing Science from Returned Samples: Advanced Synchrotron and STEM Analysis of Lunar and Primitive Materials. The National Synchrotron Light Source II at Brookhaven National Laboratory will be open to conduct experiments in the fall of 2014. This next-generation light source will provide unparalleled chemical and mineralogical analysis of precious lunar and primitive materials, which the RIS4E team is taking advantage of to tightly constrain the oxygen content of the early Solar System.

Timothy Glotch is an Associate Professor in the Department of Geosciences at Stony Brook, where he has been since 2007. He completed his Ph.D. in Geosciences at Arizona State University in 2004 and was a postdoc at Caltech from 2005-2007. His research is focused on using laboratory spectroscopic techniques and sophisticated light scattering models to enable more quantitative interpretation of spectroscopic data sets. This work includes using laboratory visible/near-infrared reflectance, thermal infrared emission, and Raman spectroscopies, both on remote sensing platforms and in the laboratory, to determine the composition of geologic materials on the surfaces of the Moon, asteroids, Mars, and its moons.

He has received NASA group achievement awards for his work with the Odyssey THEMIS and MER Mini-TES instruments that have flown to Mars and the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Diviner Lunar Radiometer Experiment. He is a Co-Investigator on Diviner, which has been orbiting the Moon since 2009. In 2012, he was awarded the National Science Foundation Early Career Award. He is the Principal Investigator of the $5.5M Remote, In Situ, and Synchrotron Studies for Science and Exploration (RIS4E) team, which is part of NASA's Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute (SSERVI).

Deciphering the Climate History of Mars 
through the Mineralogic Record

Deanne Rogers

Clear evidence for fluids moving across the Martian surface suggest a warm and wet climate may have persisted on Mars over 3.5 billion years ago. Yet climate models are unable to produce such an environment. Examination of the mineral types found on the Martian surface, and their geologic context, provides clues about the aqueous history and environmental conditions that may have persisted on ancient Mars. Prof. Rogers will discuss some of these findings and how they have advanced current understanding of Martian aqueous environments.

Deanne Rogers is an Assistant Professor of Geosciences at Stony Brook University in Stony Brook, New York. Her work focuses on the use of remote sensing techniques, statistical methods and laboratory spectroscopy to investigate planetary surface processes. Dr. Rogers obtained her Ph.D. at Arizona State University and worked as a Postdoctoral Scholar at the California Institute of Technology. She was a member of the Mars Exploration Rover science team and is actively involved in the Mars Odyssey mission. She is also a Co-Investigator within the NASA Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute (SSERVI) sub-node at Stony Brook University. She was named a NASA Planetary Science Division Early Career Fellow in 2008.


Roving on Mars: 
Where we have been; 
Where we are; 
Where we are going

Scott McLennan

In 1997, a two-decade absence from the surface of the red planet ended with the successful landing of the NASA Mars Pathfinder mission. One component of Pathfinder was a microwave-sized rover, Sojourner, that survived for 83 sols (Martian days), more than ten times its life expectancy, and traversed just over the length of a football field. Pathfinder first demonstrated the capability to remotely command a rover on Mars, collected valuable geochemical data and instigated a new phase of laboratory experimentation and general excitement for studying Mars.

The next rovers to land on Mars were the hugely successful Spirit and Opportunity, arriving two weeks apart in January 2004. These rovers shattered all expectations of what could be done with mobile spacecraft on planetary surfaces, surviving massive dust storms, climbing mountains, exploring crater interiors and breaking records for survival and drive distance set by the lunar rovers some 40 years earlier – over 11 years and 42 kilometers for Opportunity.

Within a decade, NASA landed the massive Curiosity rover, using a novel “sky crane” landing system, in Gale crater in August 2012.  Curiosity is nearly 5 times larger than the MER rovers, at 900 kilograms, and equipped with highly sophisticated internal laboratories capable of measuring mineralogy, critical species such as methane, water vapor and carbon dioxide, and the isotopes of elements crucial for life including carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. Curiosity has also broken all expectations, having already survived nearly twice its life expectancy and driven over 10 kilometers, a remarkably rapid pace by rover standards. While doing all this, the science return from these rovers has been extraordinary, demonstrating, among other things, that habitable geological environments were not just present on ancient Mars but perhaps even common and determining the first radiometric ages of a planetary surface using a robot.

Both Opportunity and Curiosity are still functioning, with Opportunity examining the margins of the Endeavour meteorite impact crater and Curiosity just beginning a trek up the 5 km high Mount Sharp to document global changes in Martian environmental conditions.  Looking forward, a new rover, based on the basic design of Curiosity but with new instrumentation and capabilities, is planned for launch in 2020 and is set to explore a new habitable geological environment on Mars, at a location currently undergoing the rigorous multi-year selection process.  The Mars2020 rover is also designed to drill, collect and cache geological samples for future return and study in the most sophisticated laboratories on Earth.


Scott McLennan is a professor of geochemistry in the Department of Geosciences at Stony Brook University. He carries out research into planetary science and the geochemistry of sedimentary rocks, with his work focused on gaining a better understanding of the composition and evolution of planetary crusts. For the past 15 years, Prof. McLennan has employed experimental studies and chemical / mineralogical data returned from Mars to understand the nature of the surficial processes that have operated on that planet during its history.  He has served on the science teams of the 2003 Mars Exploration Rover mission (Spirit and Opportunity), 2001 Mars Odyssey orbital mission gamma ray experiment, 2011 Mars Science Laboratory rover mission (Curiosity) and the upcoming Mars 2020 sample caching mission. In 2011 he co-chaired the NASA-ESA-sponsored international science analysis group (E2E-iSAG) that formulated science priorities and mission requirements for a Mars sample return campaign.

You may also be interested in the following lectures:
Astronomy Open Night,

The World of Physics and
The Living World
These lectures are usually held in ESS 001 at 7:30 p.m. on Fridays during the academic year.

Professional Development letters are available for teachers and geologists for attending these lectures.

Web pages describing earlier Geology Open Night presentations

Spring 1998Fall 1998, Spring 1999, Fall 1999, Spring 2000, Fall 2000, Spring 2001,
Fall 2001, Spring 2002, Fall 2002, Spring 2003, Fall 2003Spring 2004, Fall 2004,
Spring 2005, Fall 2005, Spring 2006, Fall 2006, Spring 2007, Fall 2007, Spring 2008,
Fall 2008, Spring 2009, Fall 2009, Spring 2010, Fall 2010, Spring 2011, Fall 2011,
Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015


There will be Refreshments after the Presentations.

Admission is FREE!

Presentations are in Room 001 ESS Building SUNY Stony Brook

How do I get to the Earth and Space Sciences Building at SUNY Stony Brook?