Santa Monica College’s John Drescher Planetarium continues its Friday evening events in October 2021 with free, live virtual shows presented online at smc.edu/planetarium. The friendly presentations will explore SpaceX developments, the Deep Space Network, and NASA space technology that has changed the lives of almost every human on Earth.

The Friday evening shows are at 8 p.m. and are preceded by a streamlined, virtual digest of the popular Night Sky Show at 7 p.m., offering the latest news in astronomy and space exploration. The shows include the chance to chat with the planetarium lecturers and ask questions related to astronomy and space exploration.

Planetarium lecturers are currently using the Zoom platform to present shows while the actual on-campus planetarium remains closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. To attend the shows, the Zoom software version 5.0 or higher must be installed on the viewer’s computer. A free download is available at zoom.com.

The October 2021 shows are:

• Friday, October 1 & 29, at 8 p.m. (following The Night Sky Show at 7 p.m.): “Starship: SpaceX’s Big, Shiny Object” — Senior Lecturer Jim Mahon. On the Texas Gulf Coast, near the border with Mexico, SpaceX has been developing an enormous reusable booster/spacecraft called Starship, and the massive launch facilities to test fly it. The stainless-steel behemoth is expected to carry cargo and humans anywhere in the inner Solar System, using orbital refueling. Starship’s first orbital test flight could possibly come as soon as the end of this year. Free. Zoom at smc.edu/planetarium.

• Friday, October 8 & 15, at 8 p.m. (following The Night Sky Show at 7 p.m.): “Deep Space Network” — Assistant Lecturer Sarah Vincent. NASA communicates daily with spacecraft that are zipping past the surface of the Sun and craft that have left the Solar System, and also coordinates the orbital dance of satellites around Mars. And it all happens from a dark room in Pasadena. Show presents a look at the backbone of NASA’s science fleet spread across the Solar System. Free. Zoom at smc.edu/planetarium.

• Friday, October 22, at 8 p.m. (following The Night Sky Show at 7 p.m.): “NASA Spinoffs” — Assistant Lecturer Sarah Vincent. An exciting review of how America’s space program and its space technology has changed the lives of almost every human on Earth. Free. Zoom at smc.edu/planetarium.

More information is available online at smc.edu/planetarium or by calling 310-434-3005. All shows subject to change or cancellation without notice.

Santa Monica College is a California Community College accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).

Submitted by Grace Smith, SMC