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and co-host Stony Brook University’s Dept. of Geosciences, are
honored to present a free, virtual lecture by Tiffany Morgan, Deputy
Director of NASA’s Mars Exploration Program.


Over the past two decades, NASA and the Mars Exploration Program (MEP) have been making progressive steps to better understand Mars and to search for past and present life through a series of orbiters, landers, and rovers:  The Spirit and Opportunity rovers demonstrated that Mars once had a warmer, watery past; the Odyssey orbiter revealed large subsurface water ice at the poles; the Curiosity rover has demonstrated that Mars was once a habitable environment; and the MAVEN orbiter has provided clues to the loss of water from the Martian atmosphere to space, just to name a few. NASA is currently embarking on an ambitious venture to transport samples collected by the Perseverance rover back to Earth for investigation; this ensures utility of the best techniques and equipment, yielding the highest precision and sensitivity of the samples to enable scientific discoveries for decades to come. Now more than ever, with NASA’s new Moon to Mars Campaign and international enthusiasm for human space exploration, we need to prepare for the presence of humans on Mars.   Leveraging unprecedented levels of international and commercial interest, MEP is developing a strategy to emphasize future sustainability through partnerships and by capitalizing more frequently on launch windows.   This will enable NASA to send lower-investment, high-value science missions and payloads to Mars more often, and to prepare for humans on Mars! 

Tiffany Morgan serves as the Deputy Director of NASA's Mars Exploration Program (MEP) within the Science Mission Directorate's Planetary Science Division, a position she has held since August of 2021. In this role, she provides program leadership in the exploration and characterization of Mars, aiming to comprehend its current environment, climate, geological history, biological potential, and to prepare for eventual human exploration at Mars. In addition to supporting direction of MEP's current operating assets (three orbiters, two rovers, and a helicopter) and research grant program, she plans and guides new Mars initiatives such as MEP's contributions to the Mars Sample Return Campaign and the European Space Agency's Rosalind Franklin Mission. Ms. Morgan previously held leadership roles including: Project Manager for NASA's Solar Electric Propulsion Project, which is developing and qualifying high-power thrusters for the Artemis Gateway; and Chief of the Engineering & Program Integration Division for Air Force Space Command's (now Space Force) rapid prototyping and demonstrations arm. Ms. Morgan graduated from Arizona State University with a BSE in Materials Science & Engineering and a BS in Physical Geography. She also holds a Master’s of Business Administration from the University of Tennessee.

Hamptons Observatory extends its deepest thanks to Ms. Morgan for generously
taking the time to share her expertise, and to co-host Stony Brook
University’s Department of Geosciences and Prof. Tim Glotch for
their kind collaboration.



(HO), a 501(c)(3) New York State nonprofit, has served the community
since 2005. Its mission: to foster interest in science, particularly
astronomy, through educational programs. Lectures, star parties,
portable planetarium shows and other events are held frequently and
often in collaboration with other nonprofit organizations. HO has an
observatory in East Hampton that it is endeavoring to restore and to
make accessible (in-person and remotely) to students, researchers,
educators and the general public. Hamptons Observatory offers all of
its public programs free-of-charge (although donations are much
appreciated) so that everyone can learn about and enjoy the wonders
of their universe. Visit
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While this lecture is free, donations to support our work are deeply
appreciated. To make a tax-deductible donation, please go to