It is our aim during the Festival to give kids a peek into these discoveries and distant frontiers by providing them an up-close look into cutting-edge space technology.
Prof. Alan Strahler's current work involves a ground-based LiDAR instrument called ECHIDNA, after the spiky Australian egg-laying mammal.
Where should science lie on this spectrum of debate? Can someone still call themselves "spiritual" and hold fast to the principles of science?
I believe we will go to space because we have to in order to continue our growth as human beings. There is little choice involved.
It may LOOK like just a dot from my backyard, but I know it's an orbital complex the size of a jumbo jet, built by 16 countries working together, and a house in space that's been inhabited continuously for more than half my life.
It seems there might be a new space race on, and some people think it's a gas! But hold on, before we get too lost in star-gazing, I thought we still had a few problems on Earth...
Here's a month-by-month listing of events I'm excited for in 2012.
Everyone knows that something is screwy with the way we visualize the cosmos. The failure of science to address the deep and basic questions of life plays a large role in why people continue to turn to religion for answers.
How's it all going to end? Being a cosmologist, I'm not talking about our new year, but about our universe, billions of years from now. This question has gotten me worrying about what I call the Big Snap.
2012 is an inflection year -- the year we will and must decide whether the U.S. has the will and ability to lead the world in human space exploration. For me, I am betting we do -- and here is how I suggest we begin.
"If a location is worth investigating, it is also worth researching and exploring in depth. Don't just hit and run a place. Sometimes I will look for information on a place or people associated with it for a number of years. It's like I get connected with it or them."
The expanding definition of "life" or "alive" is not only a consequence of joyful abuse of language and metaphors, but also the outcome of an increasingly able gaze upon the things that make -- and with which we make -- the world we supposedly know.
The focus of Dr. Coleman's presentation was life aboard the International Space Station, from washing her hair (it's hard when water, like everything else, floats!) to the differences between modules built by different countries
The journey to the launch pad is over, but Curiosity's mission is just beginning. In August, she will arrive at Gale Crater, and I know I'll be watching as she descends through the Martian atmosphere.
"We're opening up the space frontier to all, not just those lucky few public astronauts who are sponsored by the government or those that happen to be rich enough to be able to spend 40 million to fly on a Russian vehicle."
After the presentation, we were allowed to ask Dr. Patrick questions. Mine was simple: "Since you're so involved with creating new spacecraft, what about the future of human spaceflight most excites you?"