Next RPL Guest Dr. Jan Špaček to Take Questions about the Search for Extant Life in the Solar System

In our upcoming April episode of 2024, Red Planet Live welcomes the respected astrobiologist, Dr. Jan Špaček. Hosted by the dynamic Ashton Zeth, this episode promises an engaging and insightful conversation about space.

Dr. Jan Špaček, a prominent astrobiologist and senior research scientist at the Foundation for Applied Molecular Evolution, is set to join the Mars Society’s podcast, Red Planet Live, on Tuesday, April 16th (5:00 pm PT). Renowned for his expertise in molecular biology, analytical chemistry, and organic chemistry, Dr. Špaček’s current research endeavors revolve around the exploration of life on Mars and within the clouds of Venus.

To register for the upcoming RPL podcast, which would allow you to submit questions to our guest during the live broadcast, please click here.

One of Dr. Špaček’s notable contributions to the search for life in our solar system is the development of ALF (Agnostic Life Finder), a groundbreaking device designed to detect signs of life on Mars. ALF, now supported by NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts and slated to be incorporated into a future Mars mission, employs electric fields to extract charged molecules from mined water ice on the Martian surface, enabling the analysis and identification of biosignatures.

Dr. Špaček and his colleagues at the Agnostic Life Finding Association – Mars (ALFA – Mars) emphasize the importance of conducting life screening missions on the surface of Mars prior to human exploration. They believe this proactive approach is crucial for achieving the ultimate goal of identifying extant life on the Red Planet.

Dr. Špaček’s academic career includes earning a B.S. and a M.S. in Molecular Biology & Genetics from Masaryk University (Czech Republic), followed by a Ph.D. in Genomics & Proteomics from the same institution. His multidisciplinary background and groundbreaking research position him as a key figure in the quest to unravel the mysteries of extraterrestrial life.

RED PLANET LIVE is a monthly live podcast from The Mars Society — Ashton Zeth interviews the people instrumental in exploring and settling Mars. The show will focus on a wide variety of topics, including Mars and space exploration, STEM education, technology, women in science, and much more, with exciting and open discussions involving experts in these respective fields.