Santa Monica College’s John Drescher Planetarium continues its Friday evening events in June 2022 with free, live virtual shows presented online at smc.edu/planetarium. This month’s friendly presentations will explore the “NASA’s Eyes” website, present the latest information on the Commercial Human Spaceflight Program, take a look at the new Peregrine lunar probe, and offer an update on the Starship.
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.
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 must be installed on the viewer’s computer. A free download is available at zoom.com.
The June 2022 shows are:
• Friday, June 3, at 8 p.m. (following The Night Sky Show at 7 p.m.): Solar System Survey with “NASA’s Eyes” — Associate Lecturer Sarah Vincent. “The eyes of NASA are upon you.” The show explores the “NASA’s Eyes” website — one network to see spacecraft, one network to collect the science and guide them in the darkness, and one network to run them all — powered by the Deep Space Network, and providing a real-time look at major missions around the solar system. Free. Zoom at smc.edu/planetarium.
• Friday, June 10, at 8 p.m. (following The Night Sky Show at 7 p.m.): Commercial Human Spaceflight Update — Senior Lecturer Jim Mahon. With NASA soliciting studies for commercial successors to the International Space Station, and privately booked missions already flying on vehicles like the SpaceX Crew Dragon, the United States has entered a new era of human space flight. The show will survey this dynamic landscape. Free. Zoom at smc.edu/planetarium.
• Friday, June 17, at 8 p.m. (following The Night Sky Show at 7 p.m.): Peregrine: A New Lunar Lander from a New Program on a New Booster — Senior Lecturer Jim Mahon. The Astrobotics Peregrine 1 is the first of the lunar probes being flown under NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) program. With plans for a midyear launch to the lunar surface on the inaugural flight of the new Vulcan booster, the CLPS flights are designed to prepare for human lunar return under NASA’s Artemis program. The show will look at this mission to Earth’s nearest neighbor. Free. Zoom at smc.edu/planetarium.
• Friday, June 24, at 8 p.m. (following The Night Sky Show at 7 p.m.): Starship Status — Senior Lecturer Jim Mahon. SpaceX’s big Starship system aims to be a general-purpose launch vehicle and solar system exploration ship, with a quick and dramatic development history mixing crashing prototypes with spectacular test flight successes. Starship is critical to the NASA Artemis program’s human lunar landing plans, with a lunar version of Starship slated to carry the first crew to the surface as early as Artemis 3 in 2025-2026. Show will review the status of this pivotal commercial project. 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