Dudley Observatory Skywatch Lectures

Tuesday, January 22, 2013, 7:30 pm to 7:45 pm

A Series of three popular talks on topics in
astronomy and history.

Do asteroids pose a hazard to Earth? Can Pulsars (formerly known as "Little Green Men") be used as navigation beacons for interstellar travel? Are you curious about the Curiosity Mars Rover? Dudley Observatory brings the experts to address these intriguing aspects of astronomy in the news!

Laurie Leshin - "Curiosity on Mars: Roving the Red Planet"

Hear the latest from Mars as Curiosity roves the red planet seeking to understand Mars' habitability. Curiosity survived "7 minutes of terror" to successfully land within Gale Crater on Mars on August 5, 2012. With a highly diverse science payload of cameras, spectrometers and a chemistry laboratory, Curiosity is the most complex robotic mission ever to land on another planet. This lecture will provide an insider view of the mission, the results to date, and plans for future Mars exploration with Curiosity and beyond.

Dr. Laurie Leshin, Dean of the School of Science at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, is primarily interested in deciphering the record of water on objects in our solar system. Dr. Leshin is a member of two instrument teams for the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity Rover mission. She served for 6 years as a senior executive at NASA, working on both the science and human exploration programs. Before coming to NASA Dr. Leshin was The Dee and John Whiteman Dean’s Distinguished Professor of Geological Sciences, and the Director of the Center for Meteorite Studies at Arizona State University.

In 2004, Dr. Leshin served on President Bush’s Commission on Implementation of United States Space Exploration Policy, a nine-member commission charged with advising the President on the execution of his new Vision Space Exploration. She received the NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal in 2004 for this work, and the Outstanding Leadership Medal in 2011 for her work at NASA.

Also in this lecture series Richard Binzel - "Asteroids: Friends or Foes?" and Jocelyn Bell Burnell - "In pursuit of pulsars"