Videos: DDO Mars Madness

DDO Mars Madness

These presentations were recorded as part of the David Dunlap Observatory Mars Madness online event held on October 11 and 12th, 2020 and produced by RASC, Toronto Centre.


Decolonizing Mars Exploration: An Indigenous Perspective from Dr. Hilding Neilson

Going to Mars has been the dream since the 1950s. Now, it's romanticized as the next "frontier" of space exploration. But Mi’kmaw astronomer, Dr. Hilding Neilson, challenges us to reframe and decolonize how we think about our relationship with space and Mars.

Neilson is an interdisciplinary scientist, working on astrophysics and on the intersection of science, astronomy and Indigenous knowledge. As a Mi’kmaw person, he strives to embrace and integrate Indigenous knowledges and methodologies to better understand the physics of stars and the Universe and our place in it. More specifically, he probes the physics of stars, from the nuclear-burning core out to the circumstellar medium where stellar winds interact with the interstellar medium to understand connections between stars and planets; stars and cosmology; and stars and us. Neilson exploits theoretical and numerical tools to compare with observational data sets to reveal the hidden physics of stars. He also excels at and enjoys teaching at the undergraduate and graduate level as well as participating in public outreach and science communication.


An Astronomer's Guide to Mars with Chris Vaughan

Where's Mars in our night sky? What does Mars Opposition even mean? Science writer, astronomer, geophysicist, planetary scientist and dedicated RASC member Chris Vaughan shows you how to find Mars, breaks down what opposition is, and shares fun facts about Mars!


Live Views of the Mars Opposition 2020 - Claudio Oriani

Discover how a live view of Mars through a telescope looks during Mars Opposition 2020! RASC member Claudio Oriani talks about observing and processing his images from October 5.


Live Views of the Mars Opposition 2020 - Rick Foster

Discover how a live view of Mars through a telescope looks during Mars Opposition 2020! RASC member Rick Foster talks about observing and processing his images from October 9.


Deciphering Mars - Dr. Bhairavi Shankar

What is Mars really like? Join Dr. Bhairavi Shankar in uncovering the surface of the red planet from mountains and volcanoes to valleys and ancient oceans.

Dr. Shankar is a space scientist, an independent research scientist and founder of Indus Space based in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). Working in a field that combines both space science, geography, and geological analyses, she uses a combination of spatial (location based) and spectral (light interaction) data collected from satellite missions to determine the geological history of planetary surfaces. This analysis is possible using remote sensing and cartographic GIS techniques. Previously, her research topics have focused on characterizing the morphologies of impact craters on several planetary bodies (Earth, Moon, Venus) using data fusion techniques. Beyond research, she loves to communicate the marvels of space science with the general public through outreach and education initiatives. Chairperson of Lotus STEMM and co-founder of WOCSCan, Shankar also values the opportunities to promote the role of all women in STEM and to inspire future generations to join the STEM community as a woman of South Asian background in the Space/STEM fields. As a GIS user, she is constantly exploring different ways to incorporate GIS tools and visualization techniques to share it with GIS users and learners!


News from Mars with Karthik Othayoth

Mars is an exciting neighbour because of its planetary geology, habitability and the possibility of life! RASC member and York University astronomy student Karthik Othayoth talks about recent developments in what we know about Mars so far.


Perspectives on Mars: Humans and the red planet with Kirsten Vanstone

Humans have observed and marvelled at the Red Planet for centuries. But how did our ancestors think about Mars and how has our view of Mars changed over the years? Join RASC member and RCIScience Executive Director Kirsten Vanstone in discovering our history with Mars. 

Kirsten has been a member of the RASC Toronto Centre for 30 years. By day, she works as a not-for-profit manager specialising in organizations connected with science and STEM. She has also worked as a museum educator at the Ontario Science Centre, Royal Ontario Museum and the California Academy of Sciences' Morrison Planetarium, and has written and edited for print and television. Kirsten has a BSc in Astronomy and Physics from the University of Toronto and a Masters of Science Communication from the Central Queensland University. She grew up in Toronto and her first job was operating the elevators at the CN Tower.