Community members have a chance to take a closer look at Mars this week, all without leaving their houses.

The Anacortes branch of the American Association of University Women will hold a virtual presentation at 7 p.m. Thursday with Melissa Rice, an associate professor of planetary science at Western Washington University.

Rice will talk about Mars, the fourth planet from the sun, which is a dusty, cold, desert world with a very thin atmosphere. 

It also has seasons, polar ice caps, canyons, extinct volcanoes and evidence it was more active in the past.

Rice received her doctorate from the Department of Astronomy at Cornell University in 2012 and was a NASA Astrobiology Institute Postdoctoral fellow at Caltech from 2012-2014. Her research focuses on the sedimentology, stratigraphy and mineralogy of Mars.

She is a participating scientist on the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover mission and a co-investigator for the Mastcam-Z investigation for the Mars2020 Perseverance rover mission.

To attend, request a Zoom link at

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