Chronicling Mars: Science Fiction and Fact

Ted Roush presented an invited lecture at Bellevue College, near Seattle, Washington on April 22, 2009. The lecture was the culmination of an academic effort entitled “BCC Reads!” BCC Reads, is Bellevue College’s annual common book and community reading program. Its mission is to strengthen literacy practices, promote campus and community collaboration, and generate excitement about ideas through reading and learning together. This year the selected book was “The Martian Chronicles” by Ray Bradbury. My lecture was entitled “Chronicling Mars: Science Fiction and Fact”. The lecture provided a historic overview of the information that was known about Mars at the time that Bradbury wrote his book. It then continued with a summary of what factual information subsequent spacecraft missions have collected about Mars and how these have provided a greater understanding of this interesting planet.

During my visit to Bellevue College I had afternoon tea with about 30 students, staff and faculty in an informal setting. We had a dialog about their questions regarding Mars, NASA and my own educational journey. Afterwards, I was a guest at the college art gallery where scholarships were presented to three students for their academic achievements. After the awards event, the lecture was held in the campus Carlson Theater and was attended by 50-75 people.