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2019 NASA Goddard Earth & Space Science Talks Announced

This post was written by Science Reference Specialist Stephanie Marcus.

The Science, Technology and Business Division is partnering with NASA Goddard for the thirteenth year of earth and space science lectures.  The eight talks will be held in the Mary Pickford Theater in the Library’s James Madison Building.  Each will be recorded and available at a later date on the Science Reference Services website, the Library’s webcast page and its YouTube channel, Topics in Scienceplaylist.   For any changes, see:  //www.loc.gov/rr/scitech/events/events.html.  A week before each talk, there will be a blog post with more information on the topic.

The Apollo 11 lunar landing mission crew, pictured from left to right, Neil A. Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Edwin E. Aldrin Jr. Image credit: NASA

Come join us, or check back later and watch the webcasts on your computer!  Also, all of the 2018 talks are now available on the above-mentioned websites.


Apollo at 50: The Lasting Effect of Exploration of the Lunar Surface on Our Current Exploration of the Moon
Dr. Noah Petro
Tuesday, April 30th, 11:30am-12:30pm, Mary Pickford Theater
The Apollo missions to the Moon provided the first ever samples from a planetary body that were collected in a geologic context. Now with data from Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), Dr. Noah Petro will discuss re-evaluating those samples in a local and regional context which provides improved understanding for what those samples represent.


Illustration of NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite — TESS — observing an M dwarf star with orbiting planets. Image credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.

Solving the Puzzles of Planet Formation in the Modern Era of Planet-Hunting
Dr. Elisa Quintana
Thursday, May 9th, 11:30am-12:30pm, Mary Pickford Theater
NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) is searching 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 and the follow-up measurements that will reveal clues as to which planets might be rocky and which may have Earth-like atmospheres, ultimately shedding light on how planets form and whether our Solar System is unique.


Hurricane Hunting NASA Style: Using Space-Based and Airborne Measurements to Better Understand and Predict Hurricanes
Dr. Scott A. Braun
Thursday, June 13th, 11:30am-12:30pm, Mary Pickford Theater
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, underscored by recent storms, major challenges remain, relating to rapid changes in storm intensity, storm structure, precipitation, and storm surge. Dr. Scott Braun will discuss our current understanding and the suite of tools that NASA provides to improve understanding of these impactful storms.


Cosmic Explosions and Cosmic Accelerators: Gamma-rays and Multi-messenger Astronomy
Dr. Regina Caputo
Thursday, August 8th, 11:30am-12:30pm, Mary Pickford Theater
Astronomical processes, such as supernovae or gamma ray bursts, give off a variety of messenger signals. Astronomers observing these signals can get different information from different signals, and recently, by coordinating their observations of multiple messengers from the same event, they have begun to revolutionize our understanding of the extreme universe. Dr. Regina Caputo will discuss these jointly observed messengers and the contribution of the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope at the forefront of this new era of astronomy.


A Mud Matter: The Recent Discovery of Organic Matter Preserved in 3-billion-year-old Mudstones on Mars
Dr. Jennifer Eigenbrode
Thursday, September 12th, 11:30am-12:30pm, Mary Pickford Theater
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.


Exploring our Escaping Atmosphere: Going Above the Top of the World to Watch the Sky
Dr. Douglas Rowland
Thursday, October 17th, 11:30am-12:30pm, Mary Pickford Theater
Every day the Earth loses tons of its atmosphere to space, boiled by solar radiation and the solar wind. To examine this phenomenon, 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.


From Sun to Solar Wind: The Perplexing Solar Corona and the Space Environment it Creates
Dr. Nicholeen Viall
Thursday, November 7th, 11:30am-12:30pm, Mary Pickford Theater
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.


Space Lasers and Satellite Measurements: Ushering in a New Era of Spaceborne Laser Altimetry Dependent on Satellite Geodesy
Scott B. Luthcke
Thursday, December 5th, 11:30am-12:30pm, Mary Pickford Theater
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 Earth Itself Is a Great Magnet”

This post was written by Science Reference Specialist Nate Smith. Lately there has been a lot of discussion about the migration of the magnetic north pole.  The magnetic north pole is different from the geographic North Pole and is part of the much larger magnetic field of the Earth.  Not only do the magnetic poles […]

Celebrate Innovators and Changemakers on National Inventors Day! Learn about Aviation Pioneers Orville and Wilbur Wright

This post was written by Michelle Cadoree Bradley, a Science Reference Specialist in the Science, Technology and Business Division. “For some years I have been afflicted with the belief that flight is possible to man,” wrote Wilbur Wright in a letter to Octave Chanute in May 1900.  (Octave Chanute Papers: Special Correspondence–Wright Brothers, 1900, in […]

Smallpox Pioneer Edward Jenner’s Dear Friend, Celebrated Physician Caleb Hillier Parry

This post was authored by Stephanie Marcus, Science Reference Librarian in the Science, Technology, and Business Division. We’ve all heard of Edward Jenner and his work with smallpox, but I wonder if anyone reading this has heard of Caleb Hillier Parry?  When Jenner wrote his Inquiry into the Causes and Effects of the Variolae Vaccinae, […]

On the Subject of Bourbon Whiskey: Charring Oak Barrels was no Accident – it was Science

This post was written by Michelle Cadoree Bradley, a Science Reference Specialist in the Science, Technology and Business Division. In a previous post I alluded to writing an additional Bourbon-related post. This follow-up looks at a century of early scientific advancements and the impact on bourbon distillation in America. We shall bend science “to the […]

Shadow Science: Using Eclipses to Shed New Light on Heavenly Bodies, September 12 Lecture with NASA’s Chief Scientist, Dr. James L. Green

This post was authored by Stephanie Marcus, Science Reference Librarian in the Science, Technology, and Business Division. People are still talking about the total solar eclipse of last August, and many of us are already excited about the next one on April 8, 2024.  That will be the only total solar eclipse in the 21st […]

Binge Watching Science Webcasts! Celebrating Twelve Years of the NASA Goddard Lecture Series at the Library of Congress

This post was authored by Stephanie Marcus, Science Reference & Research Specialist, in the Science, Technology, and Business Division of the Library of Congress. She is also author of the blog posts “Kebabs, Kabobs, Shish Kebabs, Shashlyk, and: Chislic,” “The Potato Transformed,” and “Susan Fenimore Cooper: The First American Woman to Publish Nature Writing.” The Science, […]