Augsburg News

News Archives - 2004

2004 Sverdrup Visiting Scientist Program

Apr. 7, 2004

Featuring Dr. Noel W. Hinners
Senior Research Associate at the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, University of Colorado Lecturer

All events are free and open to the public

Sverdrup Lecture
"The Exploration of Mars: An Ongoing Saga of Fact and Fiction, Dreams and Aspirations."
Monday, April 19, 8:00 P.M. Hoverstein Chapel, Foss Center

ABSTRACT: Come, explore mars with us- ancient rivers, floods, lakes, sediments, sand dunes, dust storms, volcanoes, polar caps, iron deposits, buried ice and more. Share in the discoveries that are revolutionizing our understanding of the Red Planet. Incredible photos and science data from Mars Global Surveyor, Odyssey and now Spirit and Opportunity are building on the mariners and Vikings of yore. And more to come as or robot extend the reach of earth-bound scientists and the public participates via the internet. The prospects for human exploration live on, rejuvenated by President Bush who recently set a new direction for NASA, which includes sending humans to Mars. Dreams of exploring Mars with humans are imbedded in a history of science fiction with Martians invading Earth, earthlings building colonies on Mars and even turning Mars into a habitable planet. Is this 'for real'? We'll take a look at the challenges and rewards of such an adventure, what humans would do at the prospects that life may have once thrived on Mars billions of years ago when Earth was inhabited only by bacteria. we pose the possibility, demonstrably and scientifically possible, that we may in fact be Martians simply returning home.

Sverdrup Colloquium
"Success and Failure in Space: Are They Equal Options?"
Tuesday, April 20, 12:00 Noon, Minneapolis Room

ABSTRACT: Gene Krantz has written about Apollo 13: "Failure is Not an Option". Maybe, maybe not. Failure is an option if you're not paying attention. I have had the good fortune to be associated with the most exciting space successes including Apollo, Viking, Hubble, Voyager, Galileo, Mars Global Surveyor and Odyssey. Likewise, the bad fortune to witness or be involved in catastrophic failures including Apollo 1, Mars Observer, Mars Observer, Challenger and Columbia. Space exploration is indeed demanding; you simply cannot do a recall. Is there a secret to success? No- it's not a secret at all but quite obvious. If it's so obvious why do we have failures? Ah, because we are imperfect human beings entwined in a complex society. We are finally recognizing and doing something about crucial elements of mission success. The process starts here in the colleges and universities with your dedication, relationship to others determination to excel. But even with all of these, occasionally nature is perverse and will try and do you in. There are many close calls - skill rather than luck usually determines who wins. But take luck if it comes your way!

BIOGRAPHY: Dr. Noel W. Hinners is a Senior Research Associate at the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics and lecturer on space policy at the University of Colorado. He retired in January, 2002 from Lockhead Martin Astronautics, Denver where he was vice president of light systems with responsibility for NASA's Mars Global Surveyor,
Mars Surveyor Program, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, Stardust and Genesis Discovery missions, Space Power and Mission Operations.

Dr. Hinners served as associate deputy administrator and chief scientist of NASA from 1987 to 1989. From 1982 to 1987, Dr. Hinners was director of the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. From 1979 to 1982 he was director of the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum and from 1974 to 1979 NASA' associate administration for Space Science. From 1972 to 1974 he was NASA's director of Lunar Programs.

Before entering government service he was head of Lunar Exploration with Bellcomm, Inc., which he joined as a member of the technical staff in 1963. Dr. Hinners received his BS degree in Agricultural Research from Rutgers University in 1958, an MS in Geochemistry from the California Institute of Technology in 1960 and a Ph.D. in Geochemistry from Princeton University in 1963.

If you would like more information, please call (612)330-1324.
Parking for the Sverdrup Lecture (April 19) is available in the faculty/staff lot off of Riverside and 20th Ave. To obtain a map of Augsburg College visit the College's Web site at

The General Leif J. Sverdrup Visiting Scientist Program was established in 1990 by Johan Sverdrup of St. Louis Missouri. There are two goals to the Sverdrup Visiting Scientist Program. First, to provide an opportunity for Augsburg students and faculty to interact on a personal basis with scientists of national stature. Second, the program provides an annual forum where Augsburg and the wider scientific community can expand their knowledge on a scientific topic of national significance. This event is also cosponsored by the Augsburg College's Physics Department and the Minnesota Space Grant Consortium Program at Augsburg College.