This Week In Colorado: May 2 – May 8

These space-related events are happening this week in Colorado. Do you have an event you’d like to add? Please contact us!

Event: Frontier Science with the James Webb Space Telescope
Date: May 2, 2016
Time: 4:00 p.m.
Location: JILA Auditorium, University of Colorado/NIST, 440 UCB, Boulder, Colorado

Description: Speaker: Jason Kalirai/Space Telescope Science Institute. The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) will be the most powerful space telescope that astronomers have ever constructed, and it is a critical step towards answering the top science questions outlined in the Astronomy & Astrophysics 2010 and 2020 Decadal Surveys. The start of 2016 marks the 1.5 year countdown to the JWST Cycle 1 Call for Proposals; the conversation is now changing from development progress to science planning. In this presentation, I will describe the plans for creating a community defined zero proprietary time “Early Release Science Program” for JWST, for releasing an innovative 3D Exposure Time Calculator, for developing simulators to predict JWST imaging and spectroscopic performance, and for organizing future workshops and science meetings to plan collaborative programs and learn how to reduce JWST data. The talk will also include a summary of the current status of the JWST project and a few of the fundamental science cases that are uniquely enabled by JWST’s unprecedented sensitivity (10 minute exposures will detect M dwarfs with V = 30 at S/N = 5) and superb resolution (diffraction limited at 2, 4, and 7+ microns). These include core science drivers such as the measurement of the first galaxies in the Universe and the tracing of galaxy growth through our cosmic history, as well as the first high-resolution exquisite spectroscopic characterization of dense environments in the Milky Way galaxy. I will also discuss entirely new scientific frontiers with JWST, such as the potential to characterize the atmospheres of nearby habitable zone rocky exoplanets.


Event: NASA’s MAVEN Mission Wrap Up
Date: May 2, 2016
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Location: Chautauqua Community House, 900 Baseline Road, Boulder, Colorado

Description: NASA’s MAVEN (Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN) mission set out to figure out how Mars could have lost 99 percent of its atmosphere – a change that transformed Mars from a warm, wet and possibly habitable world, to a cold dry desert planet inhabited solely by robots. So, after more than a year and more than 2000 Mars orbits, are we ready to travel there yet? This evening’s talk, presented by Nick Schneider, the lead of MAVEN’s Remote Sensing Team, will recap MAVEN’s primary mission and its findings about how the Sun and solar wind have stripped away Mars’ atmosphere over billions of years. Schneider will also share some inside stories of the adventures this Colorado spacecraft has had along the way: a near miss with a comet, a spectacular meteor shower, some strange aurora, daring “deep dips” skimming through the atmosphere – and probably a thing or two about the newest discoveries. $10.00 ($7.00 Concert Member) This event has sold out!


Event: MAVEN’s Mars Space Weather Report
Date: May 4, 2016
Time: 7:00 p.m./Doors; 7:30 p.m./Talk
Location: LASP Space Technology Building, 1234 Innovation Dr., Boulder, Colorado

Description: Speaker: Mike Chaffin. Mars was once a planet with a thicker atmosphere that could support liquid water on its surface, but is now a desert world with much of its atmosphere lost to space. CU/LASP’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN mission has been orbiting Mars for over a year, collecting data on the the planet’s atmosphere, and determining rates of atmospheric escape. MAVEN’s comprehensive measurements of atmospheric particles are helping scientists understand the history of atmospheric escape at Mars, and are essential to reconstructing the history of Mars’ water loss.


Event: Helland Lecture: Geophysics of Star Trek
Date: May 5, 2016
Time: 4:00 p.m.
Location: Green Center, Metals Hall, Colorado School of Mines, Golden, Colorado

Description: The Heiland Lecture, sponsored by the Department of Geophysics at the Colorado School of Mines, is given each week by a distinguished speaker from academia, industry, or government on a topic pertinent to the geosciences. The lecture series is a public event open to all members of the CSM community and beyond. Speakers: Dr. Christopher Harrison, S. Alberta Institute of Tech., & Maurice Shevalier, U. of Calgary, Dept. of Geoscience


Event: Public Night At The Observatory
Date: May 6, 2016
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Location: Located up the hill from the Nature and Raptor Center of Pueblo, Pueblo, Colorado

Description: CSU-P, the Pueblo Nature Center and the Southern Colorado Astronomical Society open the gateway to stars for all to enjoy. Peer into the 22-inch research grade telescope as we reveal celestial treasures. Free of charge and everyone is welcome.