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Solar Eclipse

Presented by the Museum of Idaho and the Idaho Falls Arts Council

Three nights of incredible speakers from the JPL, NASA, and the American Museum of National History. Admission to the lectures and their accompanying movies is free, but you must reserve a space in advance. Prior to each lecture, there will be a reception with the lecturer with hors d'oeurves. Each reception costs $25 (or $60 for all three) and guarantees a good seat to that night's lecture and movie.


NASA Missions: Future Concepts for Exploration

Dr. Randii R. Wessen –   Lead Study Architect for JPL’s Innovation Foundry’s A-Team

Friday, August 18, 2017
5-6:30pm VIP Reception | $25
7pm Lecture and Movie | Free
Colonial Theater

As the millennium closed, so did the era of large planetary spacecraft that were launched once per decade.   Future robotic spacecraft will have a wide range of capabilities, diverse mission objectives, and be launched almost one per year.   Among the many types of missions, some will be the landers and sample return missions of tomorrow.  To meet these bold endeavors, these ambassadors from Earth will require advanced mission concepts, new operational approaches, as well as technologies that have yet to be developed. 

To organize this effort, the United States robotic planetary exploration program has been divided into the following themes: (1) Earth, (2) Mars, (3) Solar System, and (4) Universe.  This presentation will describe each of these areas, the major missions currently in operations, and those being planned.  It will also have a special emphasis on the quest for extra-solar planets and the search for life in the cosmos.

Bio:  Dr. Wessen has been an employee of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory since 1984 March.  He is currently the Lead Study Architect for JPL’s Innovation Foundry’s A-Team.  Prior to this, Dr. Wessen has worked with several mission and program areas at JPL including System Engineer in the Astrophysics division, Telecommunications & Mission Systems Manager in the Deep Space Antenna Network serving Mars missions, Manager of the Cassini Science Planning & Operations, the Galileo Deputy Sequence Team Chief, and the Voyager Science Sequence Coordinator for the Uranus & Neptune encounters.

Movie: Apollo 13 

Purchase Tickets to this Reception or Reserve a Space to the Lecture and Movie

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“The Martian” – Science Fiction and Science Fact

Dr. James L. Green – Director of the Planetary Science Division, NASA

Saturday, August 19, 2017

5-6:30pm VIP Reception | $25
7pm Lecture and Movie | Free
Colonial Theater

The best-selling book about an astronaut stranded on Mars was brought to life in Ridley Scott’s film, The Martian. Before production started, Ridley called NASA to obtain information about NASA’s plans for human exploration of Mars in addition to the science of Mars that would contribute to a realistic look and feel of the film in keeping with the approach laid out in Andy Weir’s book. An intense period of interaction over several months followed between Ridley’s design team and NASA journey to Mars personnel on everything from habitats, vehicles, spacesuits, ion engines, radioisotope power systems, and Mars terrains. The result was a tremendously popular and award winning film. Having been one of the main consultants on the film, Dr. Green will discuss what NASA’s real plans and challenges are to sending humans to Mars as compared to this fictional account.

Bio: Dr. James L. Green received his Ph.D. in Space Physics from the University of Iowa in 1979 and began working at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center, where he developed and managed NASA’s first Internet, the Space Physics Analysis Network. His positions at NASA include serving as head of the National Space Science Data Center at Goddard Space Flight Center, Chief of the Space Science Data Operations Office, and Chief of the Science Proposal Support Office. In August 2006, Jim became the Director of the Planetary Science Division at NASA Headquarters. Under his leadership at the Planetary Science Division, several missions have been successfully executed, including the New Horizons spacecraft flyby of Pluto, the MESSENGER spacecraft to Mercury, the Juno spacecraft to Jupiter, the Grail A and B spacecraft to the Moon, the Dawn spacecraft to Vesta and Ceres, and the landing of the Curiosity rover on Mars.

Over his career, Jim has received numerous awards, including the Arthur S. Flemming award for outstanding individual performance in the federal government, and Japan's Kotani Prize in recognition of his international science data management activities. He has written over 115 scientific articles in refereed journals about Earth and planetary science and over 50 technical articles on data systems and networks. In 2015 Jim was a part of the NASA involvement with the film “The Martian.”

Movie:  The Martian

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The Biggest Picture, So Far…

Carter Emmart – Director of Astrovisualization, American Museum of Natural History, New York

Sunday, August 20, 2017
5-6:30pm VIP Reception | $25
7pm Lecture and Movie | Free
Colonial Theater

Ever wonder what the universe looks like, and how big it is?  New York's American Museum of Natural History with NASA support put together the Digital Universe 3D Atlas to show exactly that. The Atlas accurately visualizes our beautiful planet from NASA data within a collection of all major astronomical catalogs with distance information on out to our cosmic horizon in time and space.

Come be humbled by our tiny condition while appreciating how, so far, we are the only place in the known universe which has mapped its extent. Extensive use of artistically rendered, real-time, 3D interactive visualizations are shown to illustrate these phenomena.

Bio: Carter Emmart, the American Museum of Natural History’s Director of Astrovisualization, has been involved in all five of the Museum’s groundbreaking space shows, four of which are now playing in planetariums all over the world. Emmart was one of the original Museum team members on the NASA-funded Digital Galaxy Project that helped redefine how a planetarium theater can present science to the public through immersive data visualization. Emmart directs the in-house Space Show production at the Museum and has collaborated with visualization teams at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications and the San Diego Supercomputer Center. Emmart, who previously worked at NASA Ames Research Center and the National Center for Atmospheric Research, received his B.A. in geophysics from the University of Colorado, where he was an organizer of the Case for Mars Conference series. In May 2006, Emmart received an honorary Ph.D. from Linköping University in Sweden, in part for advising a graduate intern program hosted at the Museum that developed the means for planetariums and classrooms worldwide to simultaneously interact within the Museum's Digital Universe 3D Atlas.  “My job is to translate the difficulty of science into understandable stories.” – Carter Emmart.

Movie:  Contact

Purchase Tickets to this Reception or Reserve a Space to the Lecture and Movie

Purchase Tickets to all 3 (save $15)