Press Release

Venus on Mars: Women on Space Discussion Panel at Chabot Space & Science Center

By SpaceRef Editor
April 9, 2013
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On Friday, April 12, 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm, Chabot Space & Science Center is honored to host an all-female discussion panel on the exploration of the red planet, Mars. The panelists, of varied backgrounds, will share their expertise and work as it relates to exploration of the planet and advancements in the science.

Panelists include:

San Francisco State professor and author Jan Millsapps is a pioneering digital filmmaker, an early web innovator, and an accomplished writer. Her novel Venus on Mars, in which a Victorian-era woman and amateur astronomer takes an imaginative journey to the red planet, is based on the real life of Wrexie Louise Leonard, secretary to astronomer and Mars maniac Percival Lowell.

Planetary scientist Carol Stoker is a co-investigator on the Mars Phoenix mission that recently performed sampling near the north pole of Mars to search for habitable environments. She is actively involved in the robotic exploration of Mars and in planning for future human exploration and leads activities to develop and test drilling systems to search for evidence of life in the Martian subsurface.

Nadia Drake is a Wired Magazine’s science reporter, and has been covering the “Mars One” initiative in the Netherlands, a private group now recruiting astronauts for a 2023 one-way trip to Mars. Technologist and filmmaker, Susan Bell is a multi-event alumna of the NASA Social program. She was one of 25 NASA social media followers invited to JPL to witness and report on the landing of Mars Curiosity on August 5, 2012. While not tweeting about space exploration, Susan designs interactive stories for social & mobile platforms and is a former producer of the Emmy-winning animated show Robot Chicken.

Mother of NASA’s “Mohawk Guy,” Sharon Wright is a financial consultant with a health care management background and an MBA from Wharton School. Her son Bobak Ferdowsi is one of the flight directors of the Mars Rover Curiosity.

This panel is an effort by Chabot Space & Science Center to bring female STEM pioneers to the attention of the public with a mission to engage and inspire the next generation of female STEM pioneers. This experienced group of individuals will share their varied skills, theories, and inspirations as it relates to Mars exploration. There will be time for question and answers. For more information go to Advance tickets for the event are $23/person or $20 for members of the Center. Space permitting, tickets at the door are $25/person. To purchase tickets call (510) 336-7373 or go to

About Chabot Space & Science Center

Chabot Space & Science Center is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit interactive science center whose mission is to inspire and educate students of all ages about Planet Earth and the Universe. Located in the Oakland hills, the Center focuses on the earth, life, physical and astronomical sciences, with a 128-year legacy of serving Bay Area communities through exhibits, public programs, school field trips, science camps, teacher training, teen development programs and community outreach; hosts 50,000 students on school field trips and over 115,000 public visitors each year; and offers over 20,000 sq ft of interactive exhibits on a variety of space and science subjects, a world-class planetarium, school classes on over 30 different science topics, hands-on science activities, state-of-the-art classrooms and labs and publicly-available research-level telescopes.

SpaceRef staff editor.