Panels and Presentations
The Future of Space Exploration
Our panel of science speakers shares thoughts and insights about where space exploration is going in the next few decades. With the launch of Falcon Heavy, plus plans for human missions to the Moon and Mars by NASA as well as other countries, are things heating up? Come find out from Chris, Erin, Ken and Pieter! Moderated by Carolyn Collins Petersen.
To Boldly See What No One Has Seen Before: Imaging the Surfaces of Distant Stars
While we are working to develop the technologies that will bring us to the nearest star systems and beyond, astronomers continue to probe those distant solar systems to understand better what we might find during those first visits. We often talk of the search for exoplanets, but equally important is our need to understand the central stars in those systems. Dr. Carpenter will describe the progress that has been made so far in resolving the surfaces of stars beyond the Sun, using both ground and space-based observatories, and then describe our vision of the ultimate space observatory for obtaining photographs of the surfaces of distant stars. Such a mission will consist of multiple mirrors spread out in huge, sparse arrays, such as the UV-optical Stellar Imager (SI) Vision Mission, with 30 mirrors precision formation flying with a beam-combining hub many kilometers distant.
Wolf 359 and Beyond: Searching the Federation for Planets Around Nearby Stars
NASA’s Dr. Ken Carpenter will describe the revolution that has occurred in the last 25 years in our search for planets around other stars. He will also give a special inside look at the new Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) and how it will expand our knowledge of such systems. Of particular interest to us, the mission will focus on Earth-sized planets around nearby stars, which will certainly become the best candidates for future members of the Federation!
Understanding our Trek through Space and Time: Exploring the Intersection of Art and Science
From the beginning, Art and Science have been inextricably intertwined, with one informing and motivating the other and improving our understanding and appreciation of both. Perhaps no other astronomical facility illustrates this better than NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope (HST), whose images have appeared throughout modern culture. Its images appear in magazines and books, on the side of U-Haul trucks, on postage stamps, on greeting cards, in tattoos, in arts & crafts, on clothing, in movies and TV, in music videos and in fine art exhibits. Dr. Carpenter will explore all of these and highlight two on-going and forthcoming major Hubble Art and Science shows that seek to explore, as LA Fine Artist Simone Wright has said, this “intersection of Art and Science, where true discovery, creativity and innovation happen.”
Planetary Exploration Briefing: Deep Space Communications
Go on a fun- and fact-filled journey through NASA’s Deep Space Network, used to communicate with all NASA missions beyond geosynchronous orbit. Includes a real-time rendered flight through the solar system to visit several of our favorite spacecraft.
Planetary Exploration Update: An Inside Look at InSight, the Next Mars Mission
Next month NASA will be launching the InSight Mars Lander from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on a seven-month mission to Mars. It will land near the Martian equator in November, and deploy two instruments onto the surface: a seismometer to measure the subtle vibrations of the crust, and a heat flow probe that will burrow below ground to measure sub-surface heat distribution. The lander will also use precision radio signals from Earth tracking stations to measure the motion of the Martian spin axis to high precision. These measurements will provide data for planetary scientists to understand the nature of the crust and core of Mars, and answer fundamental questions on how the inner planets formed. Pieter Kallemeyn is the leader of the spacecraft team that will monitor the mission from the company’s Mission Support Area in Littleton. He will give us an exclusive inside look at this exciting mission that will unlock the secrets beneath the surface of Mars.
Artificial Gravity and FTL Travel in Science Fiction
Dr Erin Macdonald (proclaimed at StarFest 2017 as a “Warp Drive Expert”) will be discussing the science behind gravity and spacetime, and the ways different science fiction universes solve the issue of artificial gravity and traveling faster than the speed of light. We will explore the feasibility of these methods and which ones are the most accurate — in theory, of course!
Science in Video Games
Erin Macdonald discusses her favorite examples of good and bad science in video games, from infrared cameras, to energy crystals and much more. Come with your best science questions… we may not have played your favorite game, but we’re happy to “Science It” to the ground!
Building a Space-faring Civilization
The history of space exploration began well over a thousand years ago in ancient China. Today, more than 75 nations around the world are involved in space exploration, including China. Carolyn takes you on a whirlwind tour of space exploration and the contributions of science, technology, engineering, arts, music, entertainment, law and education to our modern space-faring society.
Exploring the Kuiper Belt
What’s happening with New Horizons now that it passed Pluto? What did we learn from that mission? Come on a journey to Pluto and beyond to find out what scientists have learned and are expecting to find out as the New Horizons mission probes the outer solar system.