Posts tagged with "space exploration"

Mars illustrated by Mina Tocalini for 360 MAGAZINE.

NASA Webinar 

By Andrew de Naray, Multimedia Content Writer & Editor, Space Foundation

Seventh grader Alex Mather, who won the contest to name NASA’s new Mars rover on March 5, could not have had any idea how truly appropriate his submission of the name Perseverance would come to be. Yet, true to that name, and despite COVID-19-related setbacks to NASA and affiliated teams, the scheduled launch of the rover has stayed on track, currently slated for July 30.

On July 20, in the second episode of its new webinar series, “Space Foundation Presents,” Space Foundation hosted an exclusive conversation with NASA and Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) leadership to discuss America’s next mission to Mars.

The hour-long discussion, “Roving the Red Planet: Perseverance, Ingenuity, and the Next Generation of Explorers,” featured a distinguished panel including: the Honorable Jim Bridenstine, NASA Administrator; Dr. Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA Associate Administrator for the Science Mission Directorate; Dr. Michael M. Watkins, Director of NASA JPL; and MiMi Aung, Project Manager at NASA JPL.

Opening comments by Space Foundation CEO Tom Zelibor, contrasted the historic Apollo 11 lunar landing that had occurred 51 years to the day before, with the fact that the United Arab Emirates (UAE), China, and the U.S. have all recently launched Mars probes. “While this is a source of great national pride for each of these nations, globally we can celebrate what we can learn and achieve when we invest in people, curiosity, and the pursuit of bold, challenging frontiers,” he said. “At no other time in our history have we seen anything like what is unfolding with these three unique missions to Mars. Each of them is a science and engineering marvel.”

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine started off by citing his long relationship with the Space Foundation and its, “great scholarly work and studies, and the great committees put together with regard to space,” before passing the virtual podium to Dr. Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA Associate Administrator for the Science Mission Directorate. Zurbuchen started by congratulating the UAE for the successful launch of their Hope orbiter, saying that, “Together, Hope and Perseverance are essential ingredients of exploration.”

Moving on to Perseverance, Zurbuchen said, “Next week, the United States returns to Mars. It’s the next step in putting together a puzzle we’ve been working on for centuries.” After a brief recap of past Mars missions, he set apart Perseverance by its impressive capabilities that will provide essential research into whether Mars has the elements required to sustain human life. Perseverance — the ninth U.S. mission to Mars and the fifth rover to land there — he described as, “the most capable robotic scientist ever sent to the surface of another planet.” He touted the rover’s capability to detect, collect, and return Martian samples to Earth so researchers can better understand the weather and atmosphere on the planet.

Zurbuchen said that the rover would be the first to bring “all human senses” to Mars, with a suite of tools to analyze the weather, determine if the atmosphere contains elements that can be converted into breathable air, probes to access ice beneath the surface, various cameras to provide never-before-seen images, and microphones to hear sounds from the Red Planet for the very first time.

Among those components, and perhaps most eagerly anticipated is the Mars Ingenuity helicopter, providing “powered flight on another planet for the first time.” He also mentioned how this mission unites and sustains international space agency relations, saying, “Perseverance carries the goodwill of the entire space community… It reinforces NASA’s commitment to working with our international partners to accomplish stunning achievements in science, technology, and exploration. So, when Perseverance launches — it takes us all. Every one of us will have a chance to learn from and be inspired by this mission.”

The next guest in the webinar was Dr. Michael M. Watkins, Director of NASA JPL, who starting by expressing how proud he was of the 1,000-plus team members who built and will operate the rover. He explained that COVID-19 struck at possibly the most critical juncture of the project and heralded the perseverance of the United Launch Alliance (ULA), JPL, and NASA Kennedy Space Center (KSC) teams through pandemic lockdowns.

Watkins shared that the rover would land in February 2021, and that the teams had done exhaustive analysis of data from previous probes to pinpoint the Jezero Crater as being the best location to base the rover, given it had the greatest likelihood of containing biosignatures indicative of past habitability and prior life on the planet.

“Really, this mission, we’re out there trying to find something we’ve never found before on another planet, and then we’re trying to capture it, and isolate it, and bring those samples back to take a close look at them,” he said. Watkins added further that some of Perseverance’s tasks will be “technical demonstration experiments” designed to push the limits of current technology and test capabilities that can be implemented for future missions.

The conversation then moved to MiMi Aung, Project Manager at NASA JPL, who described the Mars Ingenuity helicopter component of the rover as a “Wright Brothers moment,” as it will be the first aircraft to be flown on another planet. Although one might think that helicopters would be relatively simple aircraft to NASA scientists, it turns out building one light enough (under 2 kilograms) and propelled fast enough to take flight in Mars’ thin atmosphere (about 1% that of Earth) was no simple task.

Aung described how the helicopter was tested in a simulated Martian environment, but added that the true test now awaits its deployment. She expounded on the high risk/high reward first-time nature of many of the rover’s functions, adding how their experiences operating these functions in situ, “will be feeding into future, much more capable, rotorcraft that we envision, and really add that aerial dimension to space exploration.”

Returning to the topic of the Red Planet itself, NASA Administrator Bridenstine explained that two-thirds of the northern hemisphere of Mars had historically been covered with water, and that the planet once had a thick atmosphere protecting it from the radiation of space. With those characteristics, the planet may have been previously habitable — if not necessarily inhabited — and it makes a case as to why signs of ancient life are likely to be discovered.

Bridenstine said, “the probability of finding life on another world just went up again,” and continued to describe the Jezero Crater as an area believed to contain liquid water 12 kilometers beneath the surface, of which the rover will be able to cache samples. “All of these robotic precursor missions are leading to something that I think is even more magnificent —and that is, to a day when we plant an American flag on Mars,” he said.

In the question-and-answer session that followed, an audience member asked the panel why there was a need to return to Mars with another probe, in addition to those we already have there. Zurbuchen framed that as being part of the effort to accelerate crewed missions to the planet — that much of it has to do with needing samples to be returned to Earth sooner than possible with the existing rovers. “The questions that we want to address now, are really so much different than the ones that 20 years ago we might have asked,” he said in reference to the existing rovers.

Bridenstine added that the surface area of Mars is equivalent to that of Earth (minus our oceans) and that the characteristics and potential resources of the entire planet cannot be determined based on data gathered in a single area of it.

As it turns out, 2020 is the year of perseverance in more ways than any of us could have imagined at the outset. Reflecting on why, beyond atmospheric launch windows, it was important to keep the mission on track, and how it will be internationally inspiring amid a global pandemic and geopolitical strife, Bridenstine explained, “Space exploration brings people together in a way that I think is inspirational in and of itself… I do believe, without question, we need to persevere in these challenging times.”

Headquartered in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Space Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and the world’s premier organization dedicated to inspiring, educating, connecting, and advocating on behalf of the global space community. Through its newly established Center for Innovation and Education, Space Foundation partners with a diverse spectrum of public and private sector partners and donors to drive workforce development and economic opportunity so every generation can find their place in the space economy. Best known for its annual Space Symposium, attended by 15,000 space professionals from around the world, Space Foundation also publishes The Space Report, its quarterly authoritative guide to research and analysis of the space industry, and through its Space Certification™ and Space Technology Hall of Fame® programs, Space Foundation recognizes space-based innovations that have been adapted to improve life on Earth. At Space Foundation’s Discovery Center an array of dynamic on-site and online space-inspired educational programming is available for teachers, parents, students, and to the general public to prepare them for their own space futures. 

Follow Space Foundation: Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | YouTube

AMERICAN MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY, LUPITA NYONG’O, 360 MAGAZINE

AMERICAN MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY

WORLDS BEYOND EARTH, A NEW HAYDEN PLANETARIUM SPACE SHOW,
PREMIERES JANUARY 21, 2020,
AT THE AMERICAN MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY
 
ACADEMY AWARD WINNER LUPITA NYONG’O TO NARRATE
 
A STUNNING EXPLORATION OF WORLDS THAT SHARE OUR SOLAR SYSTEM
BASED ON THE LATEST DISCOVERIES

Featuring immersive visualizations of distant worlds, groundbreaking space missions, and breathtaking scenes depicting the evolution of our solar system, the American Museum of Natural History’s new Hayden Planetarium Space Show Worlds Beyond Earth, will open January 21, 2020, as part of the Museum’s 150th anniversary celebration. Worlds Beyond Earth takes viewers on an exhilarating journey that reveals the surprisingly dynamic nature of the worlds that orbit our Sun and the unique conditions that make life on our planet possible.
 
Academy Award winner Lupita Nyong’o has signed on to narrate Worlds Beyond Earth. Nyong’o’s acclaimed film work includes Us (2019), Black Panther (2018), The Jungle Book (2016), Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens (2015), and 12 Years a Slave (2013), for which she won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. She is also the narrator for the six-part wildlife docuseries Serengeti (2019).
 
Worlds Beyond Earth is produced by a team that includes Earth and planetary scientists, science visualization experts, and artists, and was developed using data from sources such as SPICE (Spacecraft Planet Instrument C-matrix Events)—the system used by NASA and other space agencies for designing and documenting solar system exploration missions. With brilliant visualizations shown on the world’s most advanced planetarium projection system, Worlds Beyond Earth whisks viewers away on an adventure across the solar system, from our planetary cousins Mars and Venus to beyond the asteroid belt, where worlds of ice and gas like Saturn, Jupiter, and their moons reveal active volcanoes and buried oceans.
 
While humans have not yet ventured beyond the Moon, Worlds Beyond Earth celebrates the extraordinary Age of Exploration carried out by robotic explorers over the past 50 years. With each probe and spacecraft launched into the unknown, gathering data and sending it back to Earth, scientists have discovered the surprisingly dynamic, active, and varied nature of the worlds that share our solar system, gaining a deeper understanding of the uniqueness of our home planet in the process. How is the icy surface of Jupiter’s moon Io—located 800 million kilometers from the Sun—volcanically active? What is the atmosphere like on Saturn’s moon Titan, where showers of liquid methane pelt the surface? In stunningly detailed scenes drawn from real data—including unparalleled visualizations of the alien landscape of Mars and a simulation of the evolution of Saturn’s rings—Worlds Beyond Earth takes viewers on a remarkable journey around our solar neighborhood to explore whether there really is no place like home.
 
Worlds Beyond Earth is part of the Museum’s 150th anniversary celebration, which officially began in March 2019 and includes a series of events, programs, and exhibitions inspired by the Museum’s legacy of scientific exploration and science education, including the role of the historic Hayden Planetarium in bringing the latest space science to the public. First built in 1935 and named for philanthropist Charles Hayden, the world-famous facility has transported generations of New Yorkers —and their children and grandchildren—to the edges of the observable universe, revealing mysterious cosmic phenomena and nurturing their curiosity about the magnitude and workings of our universe. The new Space Show is dedicated to the memory of Charles Hayden and opens during the 150th Anniversary of the year of his birth.
 
Worlds Beyond Earth is rendered in 8K and will be the first Museum Space Show to fully utilize the world’s most advanced planetarium projection system, installed this year in the Hayden Planetarium. The first-of-its-kind high-dynamic range (HDR) system displays the widest color gamut of any planetarium in the world, allowing visitors to experience both the darkness of outer space and the most colorful worlds as never before.
 
Worlds Beyond Earth is curated by Denton Ebel, curator in the Museum’s Department of Earth of Planetary Sciences and chair of the Division of Physical Sciences, who specializes in the study of meteorites, and directed by Carter Emmart, the Museum’s director of astrovisualization and one of the original team members of the NASA-funded Digital Universe and OpenSpace projects, which are continuing to redefine how planetarium theaters present science to the public through immersive data visualization.
 
Worlds Beyond Earth is produced by Vivian Trakinski, who directs the Museum’s science visualization program, and documentary filmmaker Gavin Guerra. Rosamond Kinzler, senior director of science education and co-director of the Museum’s Master of Arts in Teaching program, is the executive producer.
 
Natalie Starkey, a science communicator and geologist who served as co-investigator for science on the European Space Agency’s Rosetta mission Ptolemy instrument, wrote the script. The score is by Robert Miller, a New York City composer who wrote the music for five previous Museum Space Shows.
 
Worlds Beyond Earth is the sixth Space Show since the opening of the Rose Center for Earth and Space in 2000, which premiered the first Space Show, Passport to the Universe narrated by Tom Hanks, the same year. Previous Space Shows have included The Search for Life: Are We Alone? (2002), narrated by Harrison Ford; Cosmic Collisions (2006), narrated by Robert Redford; Journey to the Stars (2009), narrated by Whoopi Goldberg; and Dark Universe (2013), narrated by Neil deGrasse Tyson, the Frederick P. Rose Director of the Hayden Planetarium.
 
Worlds Beyond Earth was created by the American Museum of Natural History,
the Frederick Phineas and Sandra Priest Rose Center for Earth and Space,
and the Hayden Planetarium.
 
Worlds Beyond Earth is dedicated to the memory of Charles Hayden in celebration of the 150th anniversary of his birth and made possible by the generous support of the Charles Hayden Foundation.
 
 
OpenSpace is based upon work supported by NASA under award No. NNX16AB93A. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
 
ABOUT THE AMERICAN MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY (AMNH)


The American Museum of Natural History, founded in 1869 and currently celebrating its 150th anniversary, is one of the world’s preeminent scientific, educational, and cultural institutions. The Museum encompasses 45 permanent exhibition halls, including those in the Rose Center for Earth and Space plus the Hayden Planetarium, as well as galleries for temporary exhibitions. It is home to New York State’s official memorial to Theodore Roosevelt, a tribute to Roosevelt’s enduring legacy of environmental conservation. The Museum’s approximately 200 scientists draw on a world-class research collection of more than 34 million artifacts and specimens, some of which are billions of years old, and on one of the largest natural history libraries in the world. Through its Richard Gilder Graduate School, the Museum grants the Ph.D. degree in Comparative Biology and the Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) degree, the only such free-standing, degree-granting programs at any museum in the United States. Annual on-site attendance has grown to approximately 5 million, and the Museum’s exhibitions and Space Shows can be seen in venues on six continents. The Museum’s website, digital videos, and apps for mobile devices bring its collections, exhibitions, and educational programs to millions more around the world. Visit amnh.org for more information.
 
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Become a fan of the Museum on Facebook at facebook.com/naturalhistory or visit twitter.com/AMNH to follow us on Twitter

David Axelrod & Karl Rove

MasterClass, the online education company that enables anyone to learn from the best in the world, announced today that David Axelrod and Karl Rove, two of the most esteemed political strategists best known for respectively orchestrating winning presidential campaigns for Barack Obama and George W. Bush, are setting aside party affiliations to come together to teach the first MasterClass on campaign strategy and messaging. In this class, Axelrod and Rove will demystify the political campaign process and break down their philosophies on what it takes to plan and execute a winning campaign. The class is now available at www.masterclass.com/dakr. Enrollment for the class is $90 for lifetime access, or $180 per year for the All-Access Pass, which grants unlimited access to all new and existing classes.

“It has never been more important to understand how this world of politics works and how to win the hearts and minds of voters,” said David Rogier, co-founder and CEO of MasterClass. “The class isn’t about being a Democrat or Republican — it’s about two of the best political minds of our generation teaching how to win elections. David and Karl break down their respective campaign strategies and debate what is happening in the country today, and how we got here.”

In their MasterClass, Axelrod and Rove will provide perspectives from their professional experiences, as they share their passion for their work and for democracy. They will dive into successful communication and planning strategies from past presidential campaigns, covering the full scope of campaigning — from developing messages and mobilizing voters, to planning, fundraising and budgeting, as well as preparation tactics for debates. Students will gain a deeper understanding of the state of politics today and feel empowered to find their unique voice and place in the political process to help make an impact.

“Ronald Reagan used to say that our American experiment, our American democracy was always one generation away from extinction,” said Rove. “I hope that our MasterClass not only provides a better understanding of the inner workings of elections and politics, but also inspires students to get involved.”

“This is a confusing time in politics. On the one hand, there’s an enormous amount of rancor, with a president who very consciously plays base politics. On the other hand, I’ve seen a renewed sense of citizenship in response, with peoplerealizing the importance of getting involved,” said Axelrod. “As more people are getting engaged in politics, running for office and volunteering for candidates, we’ve designed this class to break down the campaign process.”

Axelrod served as chief strategist for Barack Obama’s 2008 and 2012 successful presidential bids and is credited with crafting the message of “change” that helped secure Obama’s historic victory. He later served as senior advisor in the Obama White House. Over the course of his career, Axelrod worked on nearly 150 campaigns that he chronicled in The New York Timesbestseller “Believer, My Forty Years in Politics.” He is currently a senior political commentator for CNN, host of the “The Axe Files” podcast, and founding director of the non-partisan Institute of Politics at the University of Chicago.

Rove, the deft political operative and fundraiser credited as “The Architect” by President George W. Bush of his victorious campaigns in 2000 and 2004, served as senior advisor and deputy chief of staff for the Bush administration. He is now a Fox News contributor, writes a weekly column forThe Wall Street Journal, and is the author of two books, “The Triumph of William McKinley” andThe New York Times bestseller “Courage and Consequence.”

Politics is the fifth new category MasterClass will launch this year as it continues to expand its catalogue across a range of subjects to offer educational, inspiring, and engaging classes taught by the world’s greatest minds. With more than 40 classes that dive into processes, techniques and philosophies, MasterClass helps students progress more rapidly towards their own mastery, explore a new passion, or learn a new skill. It offers a unique learning experience, including video lessons, interactive exercises, course materials, peer interaction, and more. All classes are available as part of an annual subscription for $180, or for individual purchase at $90 for lifetime access to the class, and can be accessed online at www.masterclass.com or on the MasterClass mobile app for iOS and Android.

View the trailer for David Axelrod and Karl Rove’s MasterClass below: http://youtu.be/E_jPAd0L3IA

ABOUT MASTERCLASS

Founded in 2015, MasterClass started with the idea that everyone should have “access to genius.” The premier online education platform provides affordable, engaging, and inspirational online classes taught by world-renowned instructors, making it possible for anyone to learn from the best.

MasterClass’ current roster of courses includes:

Culinary Arts: Gordon Ramsay (cooking), Alice Waters (home cooking), Thomas Keller (cooking techniques), Wolfgang Puck (cooking)

Film and Television: Werner Herzog (filmmaking), Martin Scorsese (filmmaking), Ron Howard (directing), Helen Mirren (acting), Samuel L. Jackson (acting), Judd Apatow (comedy), Spike Lee (filmmaking), Ken Burns (documentary filmmaking)

Music and Entertainment: Armin van Buuren (dance music), Christina Aguilera (singing), Usher (performance), Reba McEntire (country music), Herbie Hancock (jazz), Deadmau5 (music production), Hans Zimmer (film scoring), Steve Martin (comedy), Tom Morello (guitar)

Writing: James Patterson (writing), Aaron Sorkin (screenwriting), Shonda Rhimes (writing for television), David Mamet (dramatic writing), Judy Blume (writing), Malcolm Gladwell (writing), RL Stine (writing for young audiences), Margaret Atwood (creative writing)

Design, Photography and Fashion: Annie Leibovitz (photography), Frank Gehry (architecture), Diane von Furstenberg (how to build a fashion brand), Marc Jacobs (fashion design)

Sports and Games: Serena Williams (tennis), Stephen Curry (shooting, ball-handling, and scoring), Garry Kasparov (chess), Daniel Negreanu (poker)

Politics and Society: Jane Goodall (conservation), Bob Woodward (investigative journalism), David Axelrod and Karl Rove (campaign strategy)

Science: Chris Hadfield (space exploration)

For more information, please visit www.masterclass.com.

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Twitter @masterclass

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Twitter @davidaxelrod

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