By Staff Reports
(Victorville)– For the second year in a row, the Victor Valley College and the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Division, will be hosting an exciting lecture series in the Performing Arts Center. Headlining the May 5th event, is Dr. Penelope Boston, a renowned scientist who has recently been selected by NASA as the new director of their Astrobiology Institute. When she takes her post, she will be in charge of all operational aspects of the organization as well as a science community of one thousand members! NASA’s announcement, made just last month is the pinnacle of recognition for a scientist who has defined her own career by a broad spectrum of scientific interests, and spent her childhood traveling all over the world with her nomadic parents attending their theatrical performances.
“Penny” knows the value of an education! Beginning college at age 16, she took time to garner undergraduate degrees in geology, psychology, and microbiology before gathering a masters and a PhD in both Microbiology and Atmospheric Chemistry! More than 20 years ago, she proposed the best place to look for potential life on Mars would be in the subsurface features of its Martian lava tubes and pit craters.
As someone who has explored extreme cave environments in inhospitable conditions, to brave explorers like her, discovering countless novel strains of life in caves brings a whole new perspective from anything scientists can find on the surface of Earth. For many years, orbiting spacecraft have been turning up evidence of caves on Mars, our moon, and Jupiter’s moons Io and Europa. Apparently, NASA has taken notice of her quite possibly predictive and synthesizing perspectives about the “alien” life in the tiny planets we call caves, beneath our feet.
The public apparently recognizes the trailblazing efforts of this world-leading Astrobiologist in the search for life on alien worlds, and the value of her work. The 2008 National Geographic television documentary on Penny Boston’s expedition to Giant Crystal Cave in Naica Mine, Chihuahua, Mexico, is the most highly rated National Geographic special of all time. You can see Dr. Boston’s presentation of “Taking Your Family to the Subsurface of Mars to Meet ET the Extraterrestrial” at Victor Valley College’s Performing Arts Center, on May 5, 2016, at 7 pm. Parking and admission are free. Arrive early as seating is limited. To learn more visit www.vvc.edu/Mars and RSVP with the number of people in your party, so accommodations can be made for overflow.