Press Release

Jacob Bleacher Gives Free Talk at Library of Congress: “NASA’s Desert RATS,” Feb. 14

By SpaceRef Editor
February 9, 2012
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Jacob Bleacher Gives Free Talk at Library of Congress: “NASA’s Desert RATS,” Feb. 14

The Black Point Lava Flow in northern Arizona offers a research haven for NASA’s Desert Research and Technology Studies (RATS) team of scientists and engineers, because this rough, dusty terrain, with its extreme temperatures that swing from hot to cold, resembles other places in the solar system.

On this bleak landscape, NASA crews can test robotic systems and extravehicular equipment; adjust and improve their designs; and create effective procedures for solar-system exploration.

NASA scientist Jacob Bleacher will discuss “NASA’s Desert RATS” at 11:30 a.m. EST on Tuesday, Feb. 14 , in the Mary Pickford Theater on the third floor of the James Madison Building, 101 Independence Ave. S.E., Washington. The event is free and open to the public; tickets are not required.

“Before we can make boot prints on other worlds, Desert RATS fills a critical need to study the way in which we will conduct science throughout the Solar System,” Bleacher said. “Combining Apollo-experienced scientists and engineers with our next generation explorers, our team is preparing to expand the human presence beyond the Earth.”

The illustrated lecture, the first in a series of programs in 2012, is presented through a collaboration between the Library’s Science, Technology and Business Division and NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md. The collaboration is in its sixth year.

Bleacher is an expert on planetary lava flows. In 2008, following a two-year postdoctoral fellowship at NASA Goddard, he was hired as a planetary geologist in the Planetary Geodynamics Laboratory. Bleacher’s research looks at the characteristics of planetary volcanic areas through a combination of field studies on Earth and analysis of planetary data from space-based instruments. He is currently studying the sequence of events that basaltic lava goes through as it takes shape on Earth’s exterior just after an eruption. He employs his field work on lava flows in New Mexico and Hawaii for comparison with similar lava flows he is mapping in the Tharsis province of Mars.

Bleacher earned a bachelor’s degree in geosciences from Franklin and Marshall College in 2000 and a doctorate in geological sciences from Arizona State University in 2006.

To request ADA accommodations, please call no later than five business days in advance 202-707-6382 (voice/tty) or email [email protected] Public questions can be addressed at the LOC Science, Technology and Business Division 202-707-5664.

The Library of Congress maintains one of the largest and most diverse collections of scientific and technical information in the world. The Science, Technology and Business Division provides reference and bibliographic services and develops the general collections of the Library in all areas of science, technology, business and economics. For more information, visit The Library of Congress, the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution and the largest library in the world, holds nearly 147 million items in various languages, disciplines and formats. The Library serves the U.S. Congress and the nation both on-site in its reading rooms on Capitol Hill and through its award-winning website at

For more information about Desert RATS, visit:

For more information about NASA Programs, visit:

SpaceRef staff editor.