Science Café in Houston - Mars, an archive of the Earth

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The Office for Science & Technology of the Consulate General of France in Houston invites you to a Science Café with Dr Valérie Payré, Postdoctoral Research Associate at Rice University.

- Where: Consulate General of France, 777 Post Oak Blvd #600 (6th floor), Houston, TX 77056
- When: Thursday, December 13 at 5:30 pm
- Registration online, limited number of guests
- Free event open to all (free visitor parking available - entrance on Hollyhurst Lane)
- Beverages & finger foods provided
- Presentation in English


Mars, an archive of the Earth

Where do we come from? When did life on Earth begin? What is the history of our planet? These basic questions still remain difficult to answer. Our Earth has lost its memory leaving a blank page over a billion years after its formation. Plate tectonics have literally erased the oldest structures, the ones that could have enlightened us on the origin of the Earth and the origin of life itself.

Unlike the Earth, the absence of plate tectonics on Mars makes a large part of the land more than 3.8 billion years old accessible. If Mars appears at first sight the antithesis of our planet, it is in fact the best analog that is close enough to us to study from a distance. Understanding the geology of Mars allows us to trace the history of our planet in its most ancient times. May our origins be buried in Martian lands?

Just a few weeks after the landing on Mars of the InSight probe, that embeds the SEIS instrument (Seismic Experiment for Interior Structures) for which the French National Space Center (Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales - CNES) was the prime contractor, Dr Valérie Payré, postdoctoral researcher at Rice University, will lead a guided tour of the Red Planet for this Science café, going back in the history of discoveries made on Mars and various human technological advances that have contributed to it. Videos of Curiosity landing, remote drillings of rocks for X-ray analyses as well as Virtual Reality experiences of Martian landscapes will be shown.


B.Sc and M.Sc in Geochemistry at the renowned Ecole Normale Supérieure of Ulm in Paris, Valérie Payré obtained her PhD in Geosciences at the University of Lorraine in Nancy, France, in 2017.

Dr Payré has a passion for Martian rocks, especially weathering and magmatic evolution of planetary bodies on the Red Planet, involving simulation, topographic mapping and more directly, sample collection by the Curiosity rover.
She is currently a Postdoctoral Research Associate at Keith-Weiss Geological Laboratories, Rice University.

Valérie Payré was awarded the NASA Group Achievement Award in 2015, for her contribution to the Mars Science Laboratory program.


5:00pm Welcome
5:30pm Presentation and Q&A
6:30pm Networking