April 12, 2019 2019 Earth and Space Science Talks

Library to Host NASA Goddard Annual Lecture Series

Press Contact: Bryonna Head (202) 707-3073
Public Contact: Stephanie Marcus (202) 707-1192

This month, the Library of Congress will kick off the annual Earth and Space Science lecture series, now in its fourteenth year. The series is presented in partnership with the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and the Science, Technology, and Business Division at the Library of Congress.

The first lecture of the series will be held on Tuesday, April 30and will celebrate the 50 year anniversary of the Apollo mission.

All of the lectures are free and open to the public. The lectures are always held at 11:30 a.m. in the Mary Pickford Theaterof the James Madison Memorial Building, 101 Independence Ave., S.E., Washington, D.C.

The currently scheduled lectures are:

Tuesday, April 30
“Apollo at 50”
The Lasting Effect of Exploration of the Lunar Surface on Our Current Exploration of the Moon
Dr. Noah Petro

The Apollo missions to the Moon provided the first ever geological samples from a planetary body. Using data from Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), Dr. Noah Petro will discuss re-evaluating those samples to provide improved understanding of what they represent.

Thursday, May 9
“Solving the Puzzles of Planet Formation in the Modern Era of Planet-Hunting”
Dr. Elisa Quintana

NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) searches around our sun’s nearest neighbors for Earth-size planets. Dr. Elisa Quintana will discuss the wide array of planetary systems that TESS may find. She will also describe the follow-up measurements that reveal clues as to which planets might be rocky and which may have Earth-like atmospheres, shedding light on how planets form and whether our Solar System is unique.

 Thursday, June 13
“Hurricane Hunting NASA Style”
Using Space-Based and Airborne Measurements to Better Understand and Predict Hurricanes
Dr. Scott A. Braun

Millions of people worldwide are exposed to the potential hazards of hurricanes and similar storms. Advances in observation systems and modeling have led to advances in storm track prediction and storm intensity forecasting. However rapid changes in storm intensity, storm structure, precipitation and storm surge have introduced new challenges. Dr. Scott Braun will discuss our current understanding and the suite of tools that NASA provides to improve understanding of these storms.

 Thursday, Aug. 8
“Cosmic Explosions and Cosmic Accelerators”
Gamma-rays and Multi-messenger Astronomy
Dr. Regina Caputo

Astronomical processes, such as supernovae or gamma ray bursts, give off a variety of signals. Astronomers observing them receive different information from different signals, and recently they have begun to revolutionize our understanding of the extreme universe. Dr. Regina Caputo will discuss these jointly observed signals and the contribution of the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope at the forefront of this new era of astronomy.

Thursday, Sept. 12
“A Mud Matter”
The Recent Discovery of Organic Matter Preserved in 3-billion-year-old Mudstones on Mars
Dr. Jennifer Eigenbrode

Recently NASA’s Curiosity rover found organic carbon molecules, some of the building blocks of life, in mudstones from a 3-billion-year-old Martian lakebed. Dr. Jennifer Eigenbrode will discuss the discovery, how it might have been preserved and what the source might be.

Thursday, Oct. 17
“Exploring our Escaping Atmosphere”
Going Above the Top of the World to Watch the Sky
Dr. Douglas Rowland

Every day the Earth loses tons of its atmosphere to space, boiled by solar radiation and the solar wind. To examine this daily occurrence, NASA recently launched a camera—carrying rocket into space, high above Ny-Ålesund, Norway, the world’s northernmost town, and the one inhabited place where the solar wind has direct access to our atmosphere. Dr. Douglas Rowland will discuss the recent NASA suborbital rocket campaign and how these effects can be critical in determining the habitability of other planets.

 Thursday, Nov. 7
“From Sun to Solar Wind: The Perplexing Solar Corona and the Space Environment it Creates”
Dr. Nicholeen Viall

NASA Observatories examining the atmosphere of the Sun are revealing extraordinary detail in the solar corona. Material from this mysteriously super-hot outer layer expands outwards to become the solar wind, accelerating to beyond the speed of sound and bathing the planets in plasma and magnetic fields. Dr. Nicholeen Viall will discuss recent observations from STEREO and the Parker Solar Probe which show the constantly roiling complex dynamic at work, even when the Sun is relatively quiet.

Thursday, Dec. 5
“Space Lasers and Satellite Measurements”
Ushering in a New Era of Spaceborne Laser Altimetry Dependent on Satellite Geodesy
Dr. Scott B. Luthcke

Having recently launched two new instruments, a new era of spaceborne laser altimetry will deliver surface elevation and structure observations to advance our knowledge of land and sea ice coverage, surface water hydrology and more. Scott B. Luthcke will discuss the Advanced Topographic Laser Altimeter (ATLAS) aboard ICESat-2 and the Global Ecosystem Dynamics Investigation (GEDI) instrument on the International Space Station, their performance thus far and their dependence on satellite geodesy.


The Library of Congress maintains one of the largest and most diverse collections of scientific and technical information in the world. The Science, Technology and Business Division provides reference and bibliographic services and develops the general collections of the library in all areas of science, technology, business and economics. For more information on the Library’s science collections, topic guides and events visit, http://www.loc.gov/rr/scitech/.

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PR 19-040
2019-04-12
ISSN 0731-3527