Indiana Family Star Party
Dr. Briony Horgan - Roving Mars: NASA's search for ancient life with the Perseverance rover
Briony Horgan is an Associate Professor of Planetary Science at Purdue University. Her research program uses data from NASA satellites and rovers, along with lab and field work back on Earth, to understand the surface processes that have shaped Mars and the Moon. She is particularly interested in using mineralogy to investigate weathering and past surface environments on Mars, as well as volcanic, sedimentary, and impact processes on both Mars and the Moon. Briony is a Participating Scientist on NASA's Mars Science Laboratory rover mission and a Co-I on NASA's upcoming Mars 2020 rover mission, the first step toward a Mars Sample Return.
The past 30 years of exploration by NASA rovers and satellites has shown that Mars was once an Earth-like world that could have supported life. Now the Perseverance rover is taking the next big step to look for signs of ancient microbial life, through exploration of an ancient lake environment and collection of samples for eventual return to Earth. In this talk, Prof. Horgan will give an overview of the Perseverance mission so far and of how we're planning on getting the samples back.
Brian Murphy - Remote Astronomical Observations for All!
For many of us, our love of astronomy began with our first view through a telescope at celestial gems such as Saturn and the Moon. Though most still enjoy being at the eyepiece, in the last 20 years observational astronomy has undergone a revolution in that most research astronomy is now done remotely. Since 2008, Butler University has been part of the Southeastern Association for Research in Astronomy (SARA) telescope consortium. The SARA consortium presently consists of 12 universities that have pooled their resources to refurbish and remotely run three 1-meter telescopes, all located at superb observing sites: Kitt Peak, Arizona; Cerro Tololo, Chile; and the Canary Islands off the coast of Morocco. These telescopes allow Butler astronomers (and occasionally the public) to observe both the northern and southern celestial hemispheres. Besides the SARA observatories, our on-campus 38-inch Holcomb Telescope can also be operated remotely. Remote observing allows observers at all levels (and the public) to observe/view objects that may be unseen due to light pollution or location in detail that the human eye would never be able to reveal. In this talk I will give a review of remote astronomy and how it is done along with a few examples of what we have done at Butler. And if technology permits, we will actually do remote observing during this talk (live).
Norm Dingle - About the James Webb Telescope
Norm Dingle will be speaking on the James Webb Space Telescope project.
Norm is a retired engineer with a BSE from Purdue University, a past board member and current member of the Indiana Astronomical Society and the Northwest Florida Astronomy Society. He has been interested in astronomy for the last 6 years doing mostly low-resolution spectroscopy and Astro imaging. In 2018 was appointed as a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador - in this capacity taking the message of space, science, and astronomy to the general public.
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