Life on Mars to be discussed at next Dixie Forum

Artists conception of a Mars Rover on the surface of Mars. Main image courtesy Pixabay, inset pictures courtesy of Dixie State University, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Dixie State University’s Dixie Forum discussion Tuesday will center on the title, “Life Support on Mars.”

Utah State University professors Dr. Lance Seefeldt and Dr. Bruce Bugbee will talk at noon on March 6 in the Dunford Auditorium, located in the Browning Resource Center on the Dixie State campus. Admission is free, and the public is encouraged to attend.

For 50 years, NASA has studied the challenges of recycling air and water to grow food in a closed system. In theory, this life-support system can operate forever and be independent of the Earth. To help with the project’s challenges, such as replicating all of Earth’s functions without atmosphere and oceans to buffer mistakes, NASA initiated a 5-year collaborative project with a group of universities. As two of the scientists working to use the resources on Mars to develop a self-sustaining life support system, Seefeldt and Bugbee will describe the status and challenges of their work.

Dixie Forum is open to the public at no charge. It begins at noon in the Dunford Auditorium of the Browning Resource Center on Dixie State’s campus.

Dr. Lance Seefeldt

A professor in the Chemistry and Biochemistry Department at USU, Seefeldt was recently elected a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. His research on nitrogen fixation has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Energy and NASA. Additionally, he is the recipient of the College of Science Teacher and Researcher of the Year and the D. Wynn Thorne Career Research Award. Seefeldt earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of Redlands, California and a doctorate in biochemistry from the University of California, Riverside in addition to completing a postdoctoral fellowship at the Center for Metalloenzyme Studies at the University of Georgia.

Dr. Bruce Bugbee

Bugbee, a professor of crop physiology at USU, has had a majority of his research funded by NASA to study food production in closed environments like space missions. His research led to his selection for the 2011 Governors Medal for Science and Technology and the D. Wynne Thorne award for his lifetime accomplishments. Bugbee earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota, a master’s from the University of California, Davis and his doctorate from Pennsylvania State University.

Dixie Forum

Dixie Forum is a weekly lecture series designed to introduce the St. George and Dixie State communities to diverse ideas and personalities while widening their worldviews via a 50-minute presentation. For its next installment March 20, Dixie Forum will host Dr. Lincoln Nadauld, executive director of Precision Medicine and Precision Genomics at Intermountain Healthcare along with DSU students talking about cancer genomics research taking place at Stanford University.

For more information about the series see the Dixie Forum webpage or contact Dixie Forum coordinator John Burns at telephone 435-879-4712  or email

Event details

  • What: Dixie Forum lecture by Dr. Lance Seefeldt and Dr. Bruce Bugbee: “Life Support on Mars.”
  • When: Tuesday, March 6, at noon.
  • Where: Dunford Auditorium, located inside the Browning Resource Center on the Dixie State University campus.
  • Details: Free and open to the public.


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