UHV STEM lecture series to explore how to send humans to Mars

A geophysics expert will discuss the engineering challenges and science goals of a mission to Mars during the next UHV Science, Technology, Engineering and Math lecture.

Joe Levy

“500 Days on Mars: What a Human Mission Will See, Do and Learn” will be from 4 to 5 p.m. Nov. 16 in the Alcorn Auditorium inside UHV University West, 3007 N. Ben Wilson St. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Joe Levy, a geophysics research associate at the University of Texas at Austin, will be the speaker.

“NASA is planning to send human missions to Mars in the 2030s,” said Brad Button, a UHV assistant professor of physics. “Dr. Levy is knowledgeable about Mars exploration, planetary science and what astronauts will do once they arrive. I think it will be a fun presentation.”

The UHV School of Arts & Sciences began the STEM lecture series in 2015 to showcase success stories in science, technology, engineering and math. The series is designed to engage and inform students, faculty members and area residents about the broad research conducted by area academic and professional researchers.

Levy’s lecture will begin with three questions:

  • What’s on Mars that is worth sending humans to find out about?
  • How will humans get there, and what challenges will they need to overcome?
  • What do scientists hope to learn that rovers and orbiters can’t teach us?
Brad Button

“Recent discoveries have brought additional questions about the past and present habitability of Mars,” Levy said. “I’ll discuss ways that Martian resources might be used by future explorers.”

The lecture ties in with this year’s UHV Community of Readers book, “The Martian.” Each year, a book is chosen for a common reading experience between first-year UHV students and community members. Lessons from the book are incorporated into lectures, projects and events during the fall semester. “The Martian” tells the story of astronaut Mark Watney, who becomes stranded on Mars when his team has to perform an emergency evacuation because of a dust cloud.

“We wanted to have a topic that would tie-in well with what our first-year seminar students have been learning about,” Button said.

For more information about the STEM lecture series, contact Button at 361-570-4219 or

The University of Houston-Victoria, located in the heart of the Coastal Bend region since 1973 in Victoria, Texas, offers courses leading to more than 80 academic programs in the schools of Arts & Sciences; Business Administration; and Education, Health Professions & Human Development. UHV provides face-to-face classes at its Victoria campus, as well as an instructional site in Katy, Texas, and online classes that students can take from anywhere. UHV supports the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Opportunities for All initiative to increase awareness about state colleges and universities and the important role they have in providing a high-quality and accessible education to an increasingly diverse student population, as well as contributing to regional and state economic development.

Jeremy Shapiro