2014 Annual Science Report

Massachusetts Institute of Technology Reporting  |  SEP 2013 – DEC 2014

EPO Activity: Cambridge Science Festival

Project Progress

“As a part of the Cambridge Science Festival in April 2014 we displayed our popular to-scale Geological Timeline walk signs along the Charles River for 9 days. Each sign provides information on an event in Earth history or evolution; the signs are spaced out to scale to give the public a better sense for the immensity of geologic time and the antiquity of life. The events described by each sign can be explored in more detail by visitors with smartphones by connecting to accompanying material on our website via QR-codes on the signs. Tours were offered three times daily on festival weekends, daily during the week, as well as by arrangement; tours were led by PI Roger Summons, postdocs and graduate students in the Summons lab, other members of NAI team, and collaborators at Harvard and MIT.

PI Roger Summons and two postdocs, Kristen Miller and Julio Sepulveda, also engaged a very eager public at the festival’s Space Day (subtitled ““MIT at the Final Frontier”“) about their astrobiology research. With help of a wide variety of hands-on materials, including geological field gear, fossils, replica drill cores, and videos of the JPL Mars yard with Curiosity’s Earth-bound siblings, they addressed a seemingly unending stream of questions about all aspects of the group’s research in astrobiology, from understanding mass extinctions to the technical intricacies of detecting organic matter on Mars. (Figures 1, 2, and 3 – caption: ““PI Roger Summons and postdocs Julio Sepulveda and Kristen Miller engage an eager public at the 2014 Cambridge Science Festival Space Day”“)”