August 8, 2016 Science Lecture Series to Address Bad Weather in Space, Tools and Technologies for Space Exploration and More

Press Contact: Donna Urschel (202) 707-1639
Public Contact: Science, Technology and Business Division (202) 707-1212

The fall lecture series from the Science, Technology and Business Division at the Library of Congress will include illustrated talks on a variety of space topics—listening to the universe with gravitational waves, space weather, data-gathering technologies and the geology of the Apollo 17 landing site.

The series runs from Aug. 25 to Dec. 6. All lectures, which are free and open to the public, will take place in the Mary Pickford Theater on the third floor of the Library’s James Madison Memorial Building, 101 Independence Ave. S.E., Washington, D.C. Tickets and reservations are not needed. The programs are one hour in length.

More detailed information about the topics and speakers will be highlighted over the next several months on the Library’s science blog "Inside Adams" at

Series Schedule


At 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, Aug. 25, Ira Thorpe will present "Listening to the Universe with Gravitational Waves." Thorpe is an astrophysicist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.

According to Thorpe, Albert Einstein’s theory of General Relativity predicted the existence of gravitational waves, distortions of space-time that originate in astrophysical cataclysms and carry energy and momentum across the universe at the speed of light. A century later, scientists around the world have built instruments to detect and observe the waves in an effort to learn more about the cosmological events of our universe.

At 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, Sept. 29, C. Alex Young will present "A Space Weather Report: Preparing Space Explorers for Bad Weather Throughout the Solar System." Young is the associate director for science in the Heliophysics Science Division at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.

The space around our planet may seem empty, but it isn’t, according to Young. The solar wind, magnetic storms and other phenomena emanating from our sun and other stars can threaten space travelers and NASA must keep an eye out for this space weather.

At 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 19, Kelsey Young will present "Preparing for the Next Generation of Crewed Planetary Surface Exploration: Incorporating Field Portable Technology." Young is a research scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.

According to Young, one aspect of preparing for a new generation of crewed planetary exploration missions will be designing tools and technologies to rapidly collect and interpret geochemical and geophysical data. These technologies will need to have the flexibility to be used in different capacities during spaceflight and will need to be incorporated into astronaut extravehicular activities.

At 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 6, Noah Petro will present "Walking with the Last Men on the Moon: Revisiting the Apollo 17 Landing Site with the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter." Petro is deputy project scientist for the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter mission, currently orbiting the Moon.

According to Petro, remote-sensing observations of the Moon by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter have given scientists the data to develop new interpretations of the complex geology of the Taurus-Littrow Valley, the landing site of the last manned lunar mission.

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PR 16-131
ISSN 0731-3527