WHAT: The historic first image of Mars from a spacecraft and new dramatic stereo views from NASA’s current Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter mission are featured in exhibitions at the Pasadena Museum of California Art through April 12. This Sunday afternoon, March 22, two Mars researchers from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, will give public talks at the museum about the art and science of images taken by Mars spacecraft.

WHO: JPL’s Sue Smrekar, deputy project scientist for the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, will discuss links between art and science, and describe key findings from the orbiter, which reached Mars in 2006 and is still beaming back pictures and other data. The mission has revised our understanding of climate evolution and environmental diversity of the Red Planet.

JPL retiree Richard Grumm will tell the story of how, in 1965, impatient researchers hand-colored paper strips of numerical information coming back from NASA’s Mariner 4 Mars-flyby mission to create the first close-up image of Mars. That handcrafted image was a landmark in the early history of digital photography, and is available online at: http://www.nasaimages.org/luna/servlet/detail/nasaNAS~5~5~23173~127285:First-Image-from-Mariner-4

WHEN: Sunday, March 22, 3 to 4 p.m.

WHERE: Pasadena Museum of California Art, 490 E. Union St., Pasadena.

ADMISSION: The talks are free for JPL employees, California Institute of Technology faculty and students, and the museum’s members. For others, they are included in museum admission, which is $7 for adults, $5 for seniors and students.

CONTACT: Guy Webster, 818-354-6278, at JPL, which manages the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter mission. More on Mars exploration is at http://marsprogram.jpl.nasa.gov/ . Emma Jacobson-Sive, 626-568-3665 ext. 12, at the Pasadena Museum of California Art. More about the museum is at http://www/pmcaonline.org .