Space Exploration

Space Exploration

October 2022

Humans are curious creatures and we’ve always pushed the boundaries of exploration and technology. That’s why we’ve always looked to the heavens, to expand our knowledge of the unknown and figure out what our place is in the universe. It’s an exciting time to be exploring space right now as new technologies let us peer deeper into the universe than ever before, to discover strange world’s orbiting distant stars and to try and find dark energy and matter. Space is more accessible than ever with the arrival of space tourism and companies like SpaceX and Virgin pushing the limits of commercial exploration. It’s not just about what’s up there, many of our indispensable technologies have come from our quest to explore beyond our planet. Things like GPS, monitoring our climate, artificial limbs, scratch resistant lenses, baby formula and more.

Join us this month as we connect with some of the astronauts, scientists and engineers who take us further into the unknown every year!

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All Event Times Listed in Eastern

Nicole Stott | Astronaut and Artist

October 4th @ 10:00am eastern

Nicole has explored from the heights of outer space to the depths of our oceans. A veteran NASA Astronaut, her experience includes two spaceflights and 104 days living and working in space on both the Space Shuttle and the International Space Station (ISS). She performed one spacewalk, was the first person to fly the robotic arm to capture the free flying HTV cargo vehicle, she was the last crew member to fly to and from their ISS mission on a Space Shuttle, and she was a member of the crew of the final flight of the Space Shuttle Discovery, STS-133.  

A personal highlight of Nicole’s spaceflight was painting the first watercolor in space. Nicole is also a NASA Aquanaut, who in preparation for spaceflight and along with her NEEMO9 crew, lived and worked during an 18-day and longest saturation mission to date on the Aquarius undersea habitat. As an Artist, and now retired from NASA, Nicole combines her artwork and spaceflight experience to inspire creative thinking about solutions to our planetary challenges, to raise awareness of the surprising interplay between science and art, and to promote the amazing work being done every day in space to improve life right here on Earth. She is the founder of the Space for Art Foundation.

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Ravi Prakash | Systems Engineer NASA JPL

October 6th @ 11:00am eastern

Ravi joined JPL in 2005 and was part of the team that landed the Curiosity rover on Mars. After 8 years at JPL, Ravi took a break to design products to help lift people out of poverty. Ravi has since returned to JPL where he led operations of the InSight lander on Mars, helped integrate the science instruments for the Psyche mission to visit an asteroid, and now manages the group that designs the hardware to land spacecraft on different planets.

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Richard Garriott de Cayeux | Journey to the International Space Station

October 6th @ 1:00pm eastern

Richard, the son of NASA astronaut Owen Garriott, became the second space traveler, to have a parent who was also a space traveler. On October 12, 2008, he flew aboard the Soyuz TMA-13 mission to the International Space Station as a space tourist (sixth private astronaut to live aboard the ISS), returning 12 days later aboard Soyuz TMA-12.

Richard is an avid explorer, having traveled around the globe from the jungles of the Amazon to the South Pole, the deep seas of the Titanic and hydrothermal vents to orbiting the earth aboard the International Space Station, and most recently to Challenger Deep, the deepest point in our Oceans. He currently serves as the President of the Explorers Club, the first explorer to have explored pole to pole, orbited the Earth, and reached the deepest point in the Ocean.

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Shyamal Patel | SpaceX Starship

October 7th @ 1:00pm eastern

Sam is the Senior Director of Starship Operations with SpaceX in Boca Chica, Texas. The Starship spacecraft and Super Heavy rocket (collectively referred to as Starship) represent a fully reusable transportation system designed to carry both crew and cargo to Earth orbit, the Moon, Mars and beyond. Starship will be the world’s most powerful launch vehicle ever developed, with the ability to carry in excess of 100 metric tonnes to Earth orbit.

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Col. Terry Virts | Astronaut

October 12th @ 10:30am eastern 

Celebrated NASA astronaut, pilot of the space shuttle Endeavour, and crew member on the Russian Soyuz spacecraft, Terry Virts also spent 200 consecutive days in space as commander of the International Space Station—one of the longest continuous space missions of any NASA astronaut. Step back, more than 220 miles from Earth, and experience our planet from a new perspective. Terry helped to install the outpost’s 360-degree observation module, which not only helped him to take more photos than any astronaut before him, but gives those who see the images a deeper understanding of our planet’s beauty, climate, and place in the universe.​

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Matt Heverly | Mars Sample Return

October 21st @ 11:00am eastern 

Matt Heverly is an engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. He has spent his career working on robots to explore the Moon and Mars. He is currently working on the Mars Sample Return Campaign which will attempt to bring rock samples from Mars back to Earth to look for evidence of past life on the Red Planet.

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Aaron Yazzie | Mechanical Engineer NASA JPL

October 25th @ 1:00pm eastern

Aaron is a Mechanical Engineer at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory. He designs, builds, and tests robotic systems to acquire samples of rocks and soil from other planets so that we can study them for science. He has had roles on the Mars Science Laboratory Rover Mission and the InSight Mars Lander. Currently, he is developing the drill bits that will be used on the Mars 2020 Rover. Aaron is Navajo, originally from a small town near the border of the Navajo Nation. He is passionate about spreading the excitement of STEM to students from his home community and across the nation.

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Abigail Fraeman | NASA Research Scientist

October 28th @ 12:00pm eastern

Dr. Abigail Fraeman is the deputy project scientist for the Curiosity Mars rover and research scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. Her research focuses on understanding the origin and evolution rocky bodies across our solar system. In addition to Curiosity, Abigail has worked on the Spirit and Opportunity Mars rover and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter missions, and she is also involved in developing new instruments and mission concepts for to explore our solar system in the future.

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Bobak Ferdowsi | Systems Engineer NASA JPL

October 28th @ 2:00pm eastern

Star of Sharknado 3 (not really) and robot on Battlebots, engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Bobak is the Fault Protection lead on the NISAR joint Earth observation mission with India at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. His prior positions have included Launch, Cruise, Approach Engineering Lead and Flight Director on Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity, Science Planner on the Cassini mission, Flight Software Product Line System Engineer, and Europa Clipper Mission Planner.

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All events will be recorded for later viewing