Top Mars scientist to give talk at UW

There are several interesting talks on the Seattle Astronomy calendar for the next week.


CuriosityOne of the scientific leaders of NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory mission will give a talk in Seattle next week. Dr. Pamela Conrad of the Planetary Environments Lab, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center will speak on “Assessing the Habitability of Mars: Exploring Gale Crater with the Curiosity Rover.”

Curiosity is on its way to Mars, scheduled to land in Gale Crater on Aug. 5. Conrad will explain how the rover will go about determining if Mars is or ever has been capable of supporting life.

The free talk will begin at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 23 in room 210 of Kane Hall on the University of Washington campus. The talk is sponsored by the UW Astrobiology Program and Astronomy Department.

The Right Stuff

Robots in Space
This Sunday the senior curator  in the Division of Space History at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum will give a talk at the Museum of Flight about “The Right Stuff Revisited: Project Mercury 50 Years On.” Roger Launius, former chief historian for NASA, will look back at the Project Mercury space program and the individuals who carried it out, and discuss what it means today on the eve of the 50th anniversary of John Glenn’s first U.S. orbital flight.

Launius, co-author of Robots in Space: Technology, Evolution, and Interplanetary Travel, is a compelling speaker who gave a couple of talks here in 2010.

The talk begins at 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 19 at the museum. Free with admission.


Worried about the world ending this December? Alice Enevoldsen says you shouldn’t be. The author of Alice’s Astro Info and planetarium whiz at the Pacific Science Center will discuss “The 2012 Hoax: The Kitchen Sink” at tonight’s meeting of the Seattle Astronomical Society. The kitchen sink of apocalyptic indicators includes the planet Nibiru, the rollover of the Maya Long Count, a long-expected and non-conjunction of planets, some sunspots, and a lack of reversal in the Earth’s magnetic field, and the continued alignment of the Earth, Sun, and galactic center. Enevoldsen will debunk the doomsayers.

SAS meets at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 15 in room A-102 of the Physics/Astronomy Building at the University of Washington in Seattle. It’s free and open to the public.

Keep on top of space and astronomy related events in the area by following the Seattle Astronomy calendar.