Planetary scientist Jim Bell, Ph.D., is scheduled to deliver an illustrated, nontechnical presentation, “Postcards from Mars: The Latest from the International Armada of Robot Explorers,” 7 p.m. today via livestream on YouTube.

The virtual event is part of the Silicon Valley Astronomy Lecture Series through Foothill College, now in its 22nd year.

Ten missions have successfully landed on Mars since 1976, including six rovers that have traversed across a total of nearly 30 miles of terrain on the Red Planet. Bell has been the lead or deputy scientist in charge of the science cameras on the NASA Spirit, Opportunity, Curiosity and Perseverance rovers, with a front-row seat for their photographic and geologic adventures.

In his presentation, Bell will share his favorite images and stories from inside mission operations and describe the major scientific findings made by the roving and landed missions over the past 45 years, focusing especially on the latest results streaming in from the still-active Curiosity and Perseverance rovers. He also will discuss plans for the next Martian rover.

Bell is a professor in the School of Earth & Space Exploration at Arizona State University and an astronomer who has been involved in solar system exploration using data from the Hubble Space Telescope, Mars rovers, Voyager 2 and orbiters sent to Mars, the Moon and several asteroids. His research focuses on the use of remote sensing imaging and spectroscopy to assess the geology, composition and mineralogy of the surfaces of planets, moons, asteroids and comets.

Bell is also the author of many science books related to space exploration, including “Postcards from Mars,” “The Space Book,” “The Interstellar Age,” “The Ultimate Interplanetary Travel Guide” and “Hubble Legacy.” He served as president of The Planetary Society from 2008 to 2020 and received the American Astronomical Society’s Carl Sagan Medal for public communication in science.

Tonight’s lecture is co-sponsored by the Foothill College Science, Tech, Engineering & Math Division; the SETI Institute; the Astronomical Society of the Pacific; and the UC observatories.

To view Bell’s presentation, visit A recording will be made available at a later date. Past lectures in the series are accessible at the link above, and as podcasts at