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Event ID:  26969
Contact Name:  Nikola Kerekov
Contact Email:
Contact Phone:  +359888886025
Organization:  Ratio
Event Web Site:
Dates:  8th October 2019 to 8th October 2019
Physical Event:  Yes
Type:  Public
Start/End Type:  Both Starts and Ends During WSW
Country:  Bulgaria
State/Province:  Sofia-city
City:  Sofia
Address:  National Palace of Culture Square “Bulgaria
Location:  City Stage
Event Name:  Ratio presents: Lakes, Oceans, and the Search for Life on Mars with Zach Dickeson
Event Description:  Whether or not there is life beyond the Earth is one of the most profound question asked by humanity, and any answer has important implications for our place in the universe. Given the size and age of the universe it seems unlikely that the Earth is the only place that has ever held life, but so far the Earth is the only planet we know of with evidence of life and our current technology limits detailed investigations to our own solar system. So out of all the planets and moons in our solar system, where are the best places to search for signs of life? And what might those signs look like? Mars is one of our closest planetary neighbours, and over 60 years of robotic missions have provided scientists with a wealth of information on the planets current surface conditions and geological history. A history of liquid water flowing across its surface makes Mars a prime candidate in the search for past extra-terrestrial life, and some environments beneath the planet’s surface could even be habitable for life at the present. With a number of plans to send humans to Mars in the coming decades there is an urgency to finding signs of life on Mars before potential contamination by human visitors. The search for past life on Mars is centred around the investigation of geological features that formed in the presence of water and may have been hospitable to life. Identifying these features is based on comparison to similar formations on Earth, and of key interest are formations formed in lakes and ocean environments. New research has revealed an interconnected system of lakes and river valleys on Mars, and is revealing what lake environments may have looked like and how long warm and wet environments existed. With two rovers due to land in similar environments on Mars in 2020, it may not be long before we know if there was life on Mars About the speaker: Zach Dickeson is a Planetary Scientist based at the Natural History Museum and Birkbeck College in London, researching ancient lakes and oceans on Mars. Before studying Mars he completed a degree in Earth Geology, and his scientific background includes work in archaeology, laser eye surgery, and petroleum geology. Zach also enjoys sketching and uses science cartoons for education and outreach. The event is carried out under a programme of, and funded by the European Space Agency (ESA). 19:00 - Doors open 20:00 - Presentation "Lakes, Oceans, and the Search for Life on Mars" 21:00 - Discussion and Q&A. 22:30 - Event Closure
Promotional Image: 
Report on the Results:  Prior to the event “RATIO presents: Lakes, Oceans, and the Search For Life on Mars” there was a big interest from the media in Bulgaria. The speaker, Zach Dickeson from the Natural History Museum in London, participated in two TV (one of which for the biggest TV media in Bulgaria, bTV) and two radio interviews prior to the event and committed for another interview for a popular magazine. The approximate audience reached through those media coverages is 378 000 people (78 000 radio, 300 000 TV). Recordings of some of the interviews are available on the following links: Our organization, Ratio, dedicated a lot of time and ad budget to promote the event through social networks, where the event was liked and shared multiple times. As a result, more than 31 000 people were reached, with almost twice as many individual hits of the event description on Facebook and our website. The artwork of our promotional poster was also appreciated and shared in the WSW Facebook page: ( ) In his presentation, Zach Dickeson covered many hot topics in the exploration of the Solar system like which are the most probable destinations to search for life and why do we need to focus on Mars specifically; what did the Red Planet look like billions of years ago; what historical evidence do we currently have for the existence of rivers, lakes and even oceans of liquid water on the surface. A specific emphasis was put on the significance in resolving the question of whether Mars was ever capable of supporting life and why do we need to resolve this before we send the first humans there. The speaker articulated in an attractive and engaging way and there were no any technical glitches. The presentation was followed by an hour-long discussion with a moderator and the active participation of the public (including the ones following the on-line streaming), which could submit their questions to the speaker through the on-line application A lot of interesting questions were posed there and unfortunately, the time was not enough to address them all. The event drew huge interest from the public – more than 1000 declared they were interested while on the day of the event more than 200 people came. The event was also live-streamed through our platforms in Facebook and YouTube where a recording of the event is readily and freely available on the following link This allows an even wider public to be engaged with the event and the recording to gain more popularity over time. The Ratio event was carried out under a programme of, and funded by the European Space Agency (ESA) and in order to reach a wider audience it was completely free of charge. Members from ESA were amongst the public on the event and later shared they were delighted by both the content and the quality of the organization. Photos from the event can be found here:
Attendance:  230
Attendance is Unique:  Yes
Media Impressions:  409000
Media Impressions are Unique:  Yes

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