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  • NASA SCIENTISTS SHARE LATEST PLUTO INFORMATION IN FEBRUARY AS PART OF SPECIAL VALENTINE’S WEEK EVENT

    NASA SCIENTISTS SHARE LATEST PLUTO INFORMATION IN FEBRUARY AS PART OF SPECIAL VALENTINE’S WEEK EVENT

    January 19, 2018

    Team members from NASA’s New Horizons mission to Pluto and the Kuiper Belt will be at the Cosmosphere in February for PlutoPalooza—a two-day celebration of exploration that features free public presentations, a star-gazing evening, a teacher workshop, and a chance to hear directly from mission scientists and engineers, two of whom have special hometown connections to Kansas.

    On Wednesday, February 14, at 7 p.m., a lively TED talk-style presentation will include stories from the mission’s scientists and stunning images from the spacecraft’s flight through the Pluto system. Since this is Valentine’s Day, the researchers will explain just how the spectacular giant heart on Pluto was formed, and why they think the dwarf planet is still geologically active despite being so far from the Sun.

    On Thursday, February 15, the Cosmosphere’s monthly Coffee @ the Cosmo 9 a.m. presentation will offer attendees the opportunity to chat informally with the NASA mission team members.

    That evening, from 7 to 9 p.m., a stargazing event titled Starry Night: PlutoPalooza will take place at Hobart-Detter field in Carey Park with members of the New Horizons team and Science Educators from the Cosmosphere. Viewing equipment will be available.

    For more information on these events, please contact the Cosmosphere Box Office at 620.662.2305 or 800.397.0330.


    The New Horizons team who will be on hand to share both the science and behind-the-scenes personal stories of the mission will be:

    GLEN FOUNTAIN served as the Project Manager for NASA’s New Horizons mission to Pluto from 2004 until 2016, at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, MD. Glen received Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in electrical engineering from Kansas State University in 1965 and 1966, respectively. He was a key part of the small team that began developing a Pluto mission concept in early 2001, led the engineering team during the initial work, and recruited many of the key engineers who later developed the actual mission. After launch, Mr. Fountain oversaw all flight operations, including the successful science campaign at Jupiter in February 2007, and guided the tasks that carried the mission through eight more years of flight and the eventual historic encounter with Pluto in July 2015. He has received numerous NASA group achievement awards, and in 2007 received NASA’s Exceptional Public Service Award. In 2015 he was presented with the AIAA/Space X Award for Technical Excellence. Glen maintains a home in Arlington, KS.

    KELSI SINGER is a Research Scientist in the Boulder office of Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) and a Co-Investigator on the New Horizons Geology and Geophysics team. Her research involves geological mapping of planetary surfaces, including the icy moons of Jupiter and Saturn, Earth’s Moon, Pluto, and Charon. She studies many different geological features, including faults, impact craters, cryovolcanoes (ice volcanoes), and giant landslides. She joined New Horizons as a postdoctoral researcher in 2014 and is helping with observation planning for the upcoming encounter with the small Kuiper belt object known as “MU69.” Dr. Singer was part of the successful July 17th 2017 occultation campaign in Argentina which captured the small, faint shadow of MU69 as it passed in front of a distant star. (As mentioned previously, Kelsi lived in Topeka KS through 9th grade.)

    JOEL PARKER is a Director in SwRI’s Boulder office, which is ground zero for the New Horizons science team. He started his astronomical life studying massive stars in other galaxies, but eventually brought his attention closer to home, using big telescopes on the ground and orbiting the Earth to observe the stuff that zips around our neighborhood: comets, asteroids, the Moon, and – of course – Pluto and its relatives in the Kuiper Belt. Joel is Project Manager of the spacecraft’s “Alice” spectrograph, which uses ultraviolet spectra for astronomical studies including analysis of the surfaces and atmospheres of Pluto and its moons. He is a musician and actor, and a producer and host for the science show “How on Earth” on radio station KGNU in Boulder/Denver.

    ALICE BOWMAN, the New Horizons Mission Operations Manager (“MOM”) at APL, leads the team that controls the spacecraft, now more than 3.7 billion miles from Earth. She’ll describe the teamwork, practice and resilience under pressure that has led to New Horizons’ continuing success. Her love of space exploration started as a child, saving newspaper clippings of the moon landing and other planetary visits. She pursued a degree in Physics and Chemistry to satisfy her curiosity of figuring out how things work and how to fix them. Prior to her job operating spacecraft, she worked in the fields of computer modeling, drug research (at the California Institute of Technology), and long-wave detector research, in part for the Pentagon’s U.S. Space Command. In her time away from work, she and her husband lead a community jam session twice a month and play in a bluegrass band.

Upcoming Events

  • Calling all students grades 4-12!
    May 1 – September 30
    More Details
  • Members Only: Dinner Under Blackbird with SR71 Pilots
    August 2
    More Details
  • Coffee at the Cosmo: Secrets of our Nearest Star: The Sun
    August 16
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  • Calling all students grades 4-12!

    Date: Tuesday, May 01, 2018
    Location:

    Earth v the International Space Station Agriculture Contest

    Grow your way to Cosmosphere Aerospace Camp!

    Students fourth through twelfth grades are invited to take on the ISS in a competition to grow the most food within a one cubic meter garden space.

    A winner from each grade category below receives a camp package for 2019 summer camp season and will be recognized at the Cosmosphere this fall.

    Going into 4th - 6th Grade

    Going into 7th - 8th Grade

    Going into 9th - 12th Grade

    Contest starts May 1 and runs through September 30, 2018.

    We will be sharing our results with our Kansas Astronaut Col. Nick Hague while he is on the ISS!

    How It Works: Any student who wants to participate needs to carefully read the rules, set-up their garden, collect the required data, and turn in all results to the Cosmosphere at education@cosmo.org on or before September 30, 2018. 

    Click here to download the Space Ag Contest rules and entry form!

    FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:

    Q. Can a plant trail outside of the cubic meter area? 
    A. No.  All of the growing area including roots and plant must remain inside the cubic meter area.

    Q. Is it okay to plant vines along with other plants?
    A.  Yes.  You can plant any combination of plants you chose.

    Q. Must the light source also be in the cubic meter?
    A. No.  It may be above and can be natural such as sunlight or you can use a grow light.

    Q. Does the cubic meter area have to be a cube?
    A.  No.  It can be any shape as long as the total volume is only one cubic meter.

    Q. Can you add water?
    A.  Yes.  It does not have to be a closed system.  You may use water as you wish.  (Don’t tell our astronaut friends!)  Since the system does not have to be closed, water will be lost depending on wind and heat so we are not limiting how much water can be used.

    Q.  Does the cubic meter have to be a built structure?
    A.  No.  you just need to measure and make sure the growing area (roots and plant) are all within a cubic meter volumetric area.

    Q.  Is it okay to use a plant light?
    A.  Yes.  Any light source is acceptable.

    Q. Do the roots count as part of the cubic meter?
    A. Yes, the entire plant including any leaves and roots, are included and must be inside of the cubic meter area.

  • Early Closing of the Lobby and Main Entrance at 5 pm

    Date: Thursday, August 02, 2018 5:00 PM – 11:59 PM
    Location:Cosmosphere

    The Cosmosphere's main entrance, naviGATOR simulator and lobby will be closing early to the General Public on Thursday, August 2 at 5:00 p.m. for a private event. The Carey Digital Dome Theater shows after 5:00 pm will play as scheduled. The Hall of Space Museum and Gift Store are open until 7:00 pm.

    Please use the alternate entrance to the North of the main entrance, by the Richard E. Smith Science Center.

  • Members Only: Dinner Under Blackbird with SR71 Pilots

    Date: Thursday, August 02, 2018 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
    Location:Cosmosphere Grand Lobby

    Cosmosphere Members Only!

    Join us on Thursday, August 2 from 6:00-8:00 pm for a special dinner under the SR-71 Blackbird with Col. Buz Carpenter and Col. Joe Kinego, retired USAF command pilots and instructors for the SR-71.

    $20 per person + cash bar. RSVP here by July 27.

    Are you interested in super cool Members Only events like this and not a Cosmosphere member? Become one today! Click here.

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