2018 – Space Track Schedule

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FRIDAY

Friday, 10:00am, Pool Deck (Hilton 3rd Floor) – Solar Telescope – See the closest star to planet Earth; prominences, sunspots, maybe even a solar flare! Live, in all its glory – it’s our SUN! (Weather Permitting)
(solar astronomers: Stephen Ramsden & Ben Jenkins)

Friday, 10:00am, Crystal Ballroom (Hilton) – Richard Garriott: A Private Journey to the ISS–a Retrospective 10 Years On – In 2008, it wasn’t uncommon for a private citizen to journey to the ISS. This son of a NASA astronaut did just that. What was it like? The state of the world has changed since then & the last private citizen on the ISS was in 2009. Will the gates open again?
(guest: Richard “Lord British” Garriott)

Friday, 11:30am, Track Room (Hilton 212/213) – The Year in Space News, or All the Happenings While You Weren’t Paying Attention – The universe is HUGE, & things can take a LONG time to reach us here on Earth. Meanwhile, our Earth-centric pocket of the universe hasn’t exactly been dormant. Catch up on the big happenings in the past year from our ‘local’ perspective, as well as news on things from across the universe.
(guest: Les Johnson(M), A.C. Charania, Scott Edgington, Nicole Gugliucci, Steph LaMassa)

Friday, 1:00pm, Track Room (Hilton 212/213) – Hubble Space Telescope: Advancing the Frontiers of Science for 25+ Years – An insider’s view of the 25+ years of the Hubble Space Telescope. HST revolutionized astronomy & the public’s perception of the universe. Topics: development & servicing of HST, its impact on our culture, future NASA astrophysics & exoplanet missions, & some of the best images.
(guest: Kenneth G Carpenter)

Friday, 2:30pm, Track Room (Hilton 212/213) – What’s Exploring the Solar System? 2018 Launches & Ongoing Missions – 2018 is busy in the Solar System! Four different governments are planning 5 launches to the Sun, Moon & Mercury, plus there are 19(!) active missions stretching from Venus to beyond our Solar System. Brief updates on each.
(guest: Bill Keel, Kim Steadman, Sarah Milkovich, Scott Edgington)

Friday, 4:00pm, Track Room (Hilton 212/213) – Space & International Cooperation. A National Imperative? – The US currently has many space-related projects with international partners & many more planned. Is this the best way to continue space exploration, or will each country’s needs & wants supplant what has been a very successful cooperative effort?
(guest: Les Johnson, Nick Eftimiades, Jerry Trachtman, Richard Garriott)

Friday, 5:30pm, Track Room (Hilton 212/213) – What’s Exploring the Universe? Launches, Telescopes, & Ongoing Surveys – The universe is so BIG it takes a lot of work, land, & space-based equipment to find out what goes on out there! Well, more & better equipment is being added each year: telescopes & surveys are checking everything from gamma rays to particles & from galaxy clusters to greasy star dust.
(guest: Bill Keel, Charles Blue, Tabby Boyajian)

Friday, 7:00pm, Track Room (Hilton 212/213) – InSIGHT: Delving into the Mysteries of Mars – Interior exploration using seismic investigations, geodesy, & heat transport. Arriving in November, the lander will give the Red Planet its first thorough checkup since formation 4.5 billion years ago. First of its kind, it will study the “inner space” of Mars: its crust, mantle, & core.
(guest: Sarah Milkovich)

Friday, 8:30pm, Track Room (Hilton 212/213) – Solving the Mystery of Tabby’s Star! – When the Kepler telescope discovered a star that dimmed & brightened inexplicably, imaginations ran wild. One astronomer led the research to figure out what was going on. She gathered a worldwide group of professional & amateur astronomers to help…& got a star named after her!
(guests: Tabby Boyajian)

Friday, 10:00pm, Track Room (Hilton 212/213) – Battle of the Black Holes! – The universe gives us 2 flavors of black hole: stellar & super massive, with seemingly nothing in between. How similar or different are these objects with the same name but masses separated by a half dozen zeros? Two astronomers face off to decide which class of black hole reigns supreme.
(guest: Roy Kilgard, Steph LaMassa)

Friday, 11:30 pm, Track Room (Hilton 212/213) – Live Astronomy!! – A nightly astronomical tour of the universe via ‘TeleAstronomy’ from our Solar System to galaxies far, far away via large telescopes in AZ & Chile.
(astronomers: Bill Keel, Roy Kilgard)

SATURDAY

Saturday, 10:00am, Former Pool Deck (Hilton 3rd Floor) – Solar Telescope – See the closest star to planet Earth; prominences, sunspots, maybe even a solar flare! Live, in all its glory – it’s our SUN! (Weather Permitting)
(solar astronomers: Stephen Ramsden & Ben Jenkins)

Saturday, 9:00am, Track Room (Hilton 212/213) – A ‘MER’ Celebration! Long Live Opportunity & Spirit – What can you say about 2 little rovers who lived & died(?) on Mars? That they were hardworking & resilient, that they proved there had been water on Mars, that they were loved & not to be forgotten…? Maybe Opportunity will still be with us, & we’ll have breakfast on Mars! Begins at 9am.
(guests: Space Track Volunteers & YOU!)

Saturday, 10:00am, Track Room (Hilton 212/213) – A Rover’s Life On Mars: One’s Drilling, & One’s Chilling – Curiosity & Opportunity: The ‘Little MER That Could’ & her better-equipped big sister. Curiosity’s health update allowed drilling in Gayle Crater again. Opportunity, 14+ yrs into her 3-month mission, maybe didn’t make it through the biggest dust storm we’ve seen on Mars. Life on Mars is hard!
(guests: Kim Steadman)

Saturday, 11:30am, Track Room (Hilton 212/213) – Commercial Space Development: SpaceX & Blue Origin Are Just the Beginning – Rocket launches seem to get all the news regarding commercial space but that encompasses just a few big name companies. Many smaller companies lay behind the scenes pushing forward the needs for commercial space and what makes it go.
(guest: A.C. Charania, John E. Bradford, Sam Ortega, Shae Williams, David J. Hewitt, Jerry Trachtman)

Saturday, 1:00pm, Track Room (Hilton 212/213) – Deep-Space Habitats – A discussion of habitat designs & plans for deep-space missions, ranging from NASA’s baseline to SpaceX, NextSTEP-2, & SpaceWorks. This will include various options for implementing artificial gravity, radiation shielding, & advanced life-support systems.
(guest: John E. Bradford)

Saturday, 2:30pm, Track Room (Hilton 212/213) – How a Centaur Becomes a Jupiter Family Comet & Why You Should Care – Jupiter’s size & position affects almost everything else in our Solar System in some way. Grazier’s ongoing series on Jupiter’s effect on comets & asteroids continues with information on a special kind of minor planetary body & what Jupiter’s effect on it could mean for Earth!
(guests: Kevin Grazier)

Saturday, 4:00pm, Track Room (Hilton 212/213) – Infant Stars & Baby Planets: Sex Talk for Solar Systems – With modern radio and mm-wavelength telescopes, we are finally seeing the birth of stars and planets, revealing just how these cosmic objects form & evolve. We may even find what the prospects for life will be once these new systems mature.
(guest: Nicole Gugliucci, Charles Blue)

Saturday, 5:30pm, Grand East Ballroom (Hilton) – Medical Emergencies in Space: There Is NO ‘Space 911’! – What happens on a deep-space mission if you have a heart attack? Or appendicitis? We discuss the history of medical emergencies in human space travel & explain how to handle life-threatening situations. Learn what to do if you get sucked out of an airlock! (Hint: It isn’t ‘Hold your breath.’)
(guest: Douglas Wayne Talk)

Saturday, 7:00pm, Track Room (Hilton 212/213) – Cassini’s Legacy: The Final Days & Latest Science – We were up very early 351 days ago, watching & crying as Cassini completed her 20-year mission w/ a final plunge into Saturn’s atmosphere. Cassini worked till the very end to give us a wealth of beautiful images & mind-blowing discoveries of the Saturn system. Cassini still has much to tell us!
(guests: Trina Ray, Scott Edgington)

Saturday, 8:30pm, Track Room (Hilton 212/213) – Can’t See, Sense, or Interact w/It, but Dark Matter Holds the Universe Together – Space is filled with very strange things. One of the strangest is something we can’t see or sense. Is dark matter really the missing mass that holds galaxies & the universe together? If so, then why is it sometimes not where it’s supposed to be?
(guest: Nicole Gugliucci, Roy Kilgard, Charles Blue, Steph LaMassa)

Saturday, 10:00pm, Track Room (Hilton 212/213) – OSIRIS-REx & Hayabusa 2 Sample Missions: Chasing Rocks in Space – Two asteroid-sample missions reach their respective space rocks this year: JAXA’s Hayabusa 2 reached Ryugu on June 27 & NASA’s OSIRIS-REx arrives at Bennu in late 2018. Both missions will collect material from their asteroid & return the samples back to Earth!
(guests: Bill Keel)

Saturday, 11:30 pm, Track Room (Hilton 212/213) – Live Astronomy!! – A nightly astronomical tour of the universe via ‘TeleAstronomy’ from our Solar System to galaxies far, far away via large telescopes in AZ & Chile.
(astronomers: Bill Keel, Roy Kilgard)

SUNDAY
Sunday, 8:30am, Track Room (Hilton 212/213) – Why Do We Explore Space, & Where and/or What Is Next? – Humans have always had a need to explore, even if it means risking their life. Now we look to the heavens. Beyond that need to find ‘what’s out there’, are often much more earthly reasons. An early morning existential discussion over breakfast.
(guests: Trina Ray, Sam Ortega, Jyotika Virmani)

Sunday, 10:00am, Former Pool Deck (Hilton 3rd Floor) – Solar Telescope – See the closest star to planet Earth; prominences, sunspots, maybe even a solar flare! Live, in all its glory – it’s our SUN! (Weather Permitting)
(solar astronomers: Stephen Ramsden & Ben Jenkins)

Sunday, 10:00am, Grand East Ballroom (Hilton) – Lunar Pivot – Overview of emerging plans & vision by NASA for a cis-lunar ‘Gateway’ & a refocus of efforts toward human lunar exploration.
(guests: A.C. Charania, John E. Bradford)

Sunday, 11:30am, Track Room (Hilton 212/213) – Remembering Mankind’s Greatest Adventure – The Apollo Lunar Landings – Within 10 years, NASA designed, built, tested, and launched the spacecraft that landed 12 men on the Moon and successfully brought them home. As an Apollo spacecraft ops engineer at the Kennedy Space Center, Jerry Trachtman saw it all!
(guest: Jerry Trachtman)

Sunday, 1:00pm, Track Room (Hilton 212/213) – Blue Origin: Rising Fast & Landing Upright – Blue Origin has long been the silent cousin of SpaceX, but it’s begun to make a lot of noise with action if not PR. Recent testing has Blue Origin successfully landing both booster & crew capsule. An update on where they are & how fast they’re moving!
(guest: A.C. Charania)

Sunday, 2:30pm, Track Room (Hilton 309/312) – NASA Kids’ Space Workshop – Let your kids have fun at DragonCon too while at the same time learning a little space science! A ride on a hovercraft will surely put a smile on their face!
(guest: Sam Ortega, David J. Hewitt, Andy Dykes)

Sunday, 2:30pm, Track Room (Hilton 212/213) – Nuclear Propulsion is Back! – Nuclear thermal propulsion is again, finally, getting significant funding. What is behind this new focus? How have nuclear rockets changed? What are they, how they work, and why we need them.
(guest: Les Johnson)

Sunday, 4:00pm, Track Room (Hilton 212/213) – The Necessary Evolution of the Human Interstellar Civilization – Take a leap into our possible future! As we become an interstellar civilization, how would humans need to ‘evolve’ to successfully live in space? Besides genetic evolution, humans also would need to evolve/adapt psychologically, sociologically, cognitively, etc.
(guests: Douglas Wayne Talk, Robert E. Hampson, Abby Hafer)

Sunday, 5:30pm, Track Room (Hilton 212/213) – Prospect of Human Stasis for Space Exploration – Update on research evaluating the prospects & potential of human stasis, or torpor, for use during deep-space missions. Can this really work? How could it be done? What would it mean for space travel?
(guests: John E. Bradford, Douglas Wayne Talk)

Sunday, 7:00pm, Track Room (Hilton 212/213) – Titan: The Most Earth-like Non-Earth Place in the Solar System – Curiosity is a robotic geologist. Asteroid sample returns from Hayabusha 2 & OSIRIS-REx will speak loudly. Rocks may be inanimate, but they are hopeless gossips & can’t help but spill dirt on happenings long ago & often far away. Learn how shape, texture, color, & even taste can betray secrets.
(guest: Sarah Milkovich, Mika McKinnon, Scott Harris)

Sunday, 8:30pm, Track Room (Hilton 212/213) – Imaging the Surfaces of Distant Stars – Many exo-planets have been found–but what about the central stars in those systems? What’s the progress in resolving the surfaces of distant stars & how is it done? What is the ultimate space observatory for obtaining photographs of the surfaces of distant stars?
(guests: Tabby Boyajian, Kenneth G Carpenter)

Sunday, 10:00pm, Track Room (Hilton 212/213) – Black Holes, Neutron Stars or Wormholes? Gravitational Waves Update – Gravitational waves are still making news. Last year we talked about neutron stars colliding but now there’s controversy. Is there now a black hole? Could those gravitational waves have come from wormholes? Still so much to learn on this topic!
(guest: Roy Kilgard, Steph LaMassa)

Sunday, 11:30am, Track Room (Hilton 212/213) – Live Astronomy!! – A nightly astronomical tour of the universe via ‘TeleAstronomy’ from our Solar System to galaxies far, far away via large telescopes in AZ & Chile.
(astronomers: Bill Keel, Roy Kilgard)

MONDAY

Monday, 10:00am, Pool Deck (Hilton 3rd Floor) – Solar Telescope – See the closest star to planet Earth; prominences, sunspots, maybe even a solar flare! Live, in all its glory – it’s our SUN! (Weather Permitting)
(solar astronomers: Stephen Ramsden & Ben Jenkins)

Monday, 10:00am, Track Room (Hilton 212/213) – Rockets in Everyday Life: Big, Medium, & Small–We Use Them All! – Everyone loves the BIG ROCKETS! Watching one lift off stays with you always. But rockets come in all sizes & are used for many purposes. What are we using them for right now, & how else can they be used? We look at how they’re built & tested, & who’s looking to use them for what purpose.
(guest: Sam Ortega, Shae Williams, David J. Hewitt, Andy Dykes)

Monday, 11:30am, Track Room (Hilton 212/213) – NASA Mission Portfolio – Even as some missions end, there are always others waiting in the wings. Mars2020 & Europa Clipper are in progress. But what missions get chosen, & how? Will there be another big mission like Cassini? We take a peek into the future & find out how decisions are made.
(guest: Trina Ray)

Monday, 1:00pm, Track Room (Hilton 212/213) – Juno: Stunning Pictures, but What Have We Learned? – The Juno mission at Jupiter has just been extended. The images that have been generated are so stunning that they could hang in a museum! Still, it’s a science mission…so, what new stuff have we learned about Jupiter?
(guest: Scott Edgington, Kevin Grazier)

Monday, 2:30pm, Track Room (Hilton 212/213) – Future of Space Exploration – As we close out another year of Space Track, we look forward. What is the future for human space exploration? The Moon? Mars? The Solar System? Can we go farther? What might be the next big achievement for space exploration, & when will it happen?
(guest: Erin Macdonald, Kenneth G Carpenter)