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part of its 2009 annual meeting program, the Astronomical Society
of the Pacific (ASP) will feature Hubble Space Telescope repair
mission astronaut, Dr. John M. Grunsfeld, NASA, and noted SETI Institute
scientists, Drs. Frank Drake, Seth Shostak, Margaret Race, and Douglas
Caldwell, in public presentations at the Westin San Francisco Airport
Hotel, 1 Old Bayshore Highway in Millbrae, California. Astronaut
John Grunsfeld will speak about his experiences on the recent Hubble
Space Telescope repair mission in a presentation entitled, "Rescuing
Hubble: An Astronaut's Adventures in Space," on Monday,
September 14, at 7:30 pm in the Westin's Sequoia Ballroom.
On "SETI Sunday," September 13, from 1:00 pm to 5:00
pm, also in the Westin's Sequoia Ballroom, SETI scientists,
Douglas Caldwell, Frank Drake, Seth Shostak, and Margaret Race will
discuss their intriguing work on the search for extraterrestrial
intelligence and extrasolar planets in a series of four presentations.
of the astronaut and SETI presentations are open to the public.
Conference registration is not required for attendance. Admission
for "Rescuing Hubble: An Astronaut's Adventures in Space"
is free, though tickets are required. Admission for the SETI program
is $10 general public, and free for TeamSETI and ASP members. Tickets
(including free tickets) for all presentations will be available
at the ASP conference registration area in the Westin Hotel lobby
from Saturday through Monday, September 12-14, and prior to the
talks. Seating is limited, and is available on a first-come, first-served
Talk by Dr. John M. Grunsfeld, NASA
"Rescuing Hubble: An Astronaut's Adventures in Space"
Monday, September 14, 7:30 pm, Sequoia Ballroom
May, 2009, NASA astronaut John Grunsfeld made his fifth space shuttle
and third visit to the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) as part of the
mission aboard shuttle Atlantis. During the mission, Dr. Grunsfeld
three of the mission's five space walks that installed two
new instruments, repaired two others, and outfitted the HST with
new batteries, gyroscopes, fine guidance
sensors and thermal blankets. Dr. Grunsfeld will share his and his
adventures in this final mission to the HST, offering his insights
on the challenges
and successes of the mission and what it means for the HST and our
explorations of the universe.
John Grunsfeld received his bachelor of science degree in physics
from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and his master of
science and PhD. degrees in physics from the University of Chicago.
Specializing in x-ray and gamma ray astronomy research, high–energy
cosmic ray studies, and the development of new detectors and instrumentation,
he held several academic positions including Senior Research Fellow
at the California Institute of Technology prior to his selection
as astronaut in 1992. Between 1995 and 2009, Dr. Grunsfeld flew
five shuttle missions, including a 16-day mission of ultraviolet
observations with the Astro observatory, the fifth mission to the
Russian Mir space station, and three servicing missions to the Hubble
Space Telescope, including the final servicing mission in 2009.
He also served as NASA Chief Scientist in 2003/04. Dr. Grunsfeld
has logged more than 58 days in space, and 58 hours and 30 minutes
of extravehicular activity in eight space walks.
afternoon, September 13, is reserved for a SETI speaker series featuring
scientists and researchers from the SETI Institute in Mountain View,
California. Speakers include Drs. Frank Drake, Seth Shostak, Margaret
Race, and John Jenkins. These presentations will feature current
and mind-expanding discussions on the Drake Equation at 50 years
old, what aliens might look like and why it's useful to speculate
about them, initial results and data from the Kepler Mission to
see if we're finding their home worlds yet, and what on Earth we
do if we start to find them.
Kepler Mission Instrument Scientist
"Finding a Home for ET: The Kepler Mission"
Sunday, September 13, 1:00 pm
decade ago, astronomers could only speculate about whether planets
were a happy commonplace in the universe, or distressingly rare.
The discovery of hundreds of worlds around other stars has shown
that planets orbit at least 5 to 10 percent of all stars. But how
many of these planets are Earth-size, and possibly Earth-like? Physicist
Doug Caldwell is an expert on one of the most promising schemes
for finding small worlds far beyond our solar system: looking for
the slight dimming of a star caused when a planet crosses between
it and us. Doug is also the Instrument Scientist for NASA's
Kepler Mission, an ambitious, space borne telescope that will examine
one hundred thousand stars for evidence of orbiting worlds. If Earth-size
planets are common, Doug Caldwell will be among the first to know.
Senior Astronomer, SETI Institute
"The Real ET"
Sunday September 13, 1:55 pm
is the Senior Astronomer at the SETI Institute, in Mountain View,
California. He has an undergraduate degree in physics from Princeton
University, and a doctorate in astronomy from the California Institute
of Technology. For much of his career, Seth conducted radio astronomy
research on galaxies, and has published approximately sixty papers
in professional journals. He has written several hundred popular
magazine and Web articles on various topics in astronomy, technology,
film and television. He lectures on astronomy and other subjects
at Stanford and other venues in the Bay Area, and for the last six
years, has been a Distinquished Speaker for the American Institute
of Aeronautics and Astronautics. He is also Chair of the International
Academy of Astronautics' SETI Permanent Study Group. Every
week he hosts the SETI Institute's science radio show, "Are
has edited and contributed to a half dozen books. He has also been
the principal author of four: "Sharing the Universe: Perspectives
on Extraterrestrial Life," "Life in the Universe"
(textbook with Jeff Bennett), "Cosmic Company" (with
Alex Barnett), and "Confessions of an Alien Hunter."
Principal Investigator, Carl Sagan Center for the Study of Life
in the Universe
"Discovering ET: What's Next?"
Sunday September 13, 3:00 pm
Race is concerned with protecting the planets. Actually, protecting
all the planets: but especially Earth and Mars. Her work focuses
on the scientific, technical, legal and societal issues of ensuring
that missions to the Red Planet and other solar system bodies do
not either inadvertently bring terrestrial microbes along, which
would complicate our search for indigenous extraterrestrial life,
or return any uncontained microbes to Earth. Recently, she's
done a research study on the environmental impact reviews and public
communication associated with high-containment biosafety labs --
the type that will eventually be used for the quarantine of returned
samples from Mars. Her interest in extraterrestrial organisms is
linked closely to her long term ecological research on exotic and
invasive species. She's also actively involved in education
and public outreach about astrobiology. Since her early work with
the Environmental Protection Agency as a Public Information Specialist,
and her tenure at San Francisco television station KQED, Margaret
has had a strong interest in the communication of science via the
mass20media. She especially likes to work with journalists and 16
Science Education and Outreach: Forging a Path to the Future Meeting
Program educators as they develop materials about complex, controversial
issues in space exploration and environmental protection. Her enthusiasm
is infectious, and her work ensures that our spacecraft won't
Director of the Carl Sagan Center for the Study of Life in the Universe
"Reflections on the Drake Equation"
Sunday September 13, 3:55 pm
Drake, who conducted the first modern SETI experiment in 1960, continues
his life-long interest in the detection of extraterrestrial sentient
life. He participates in an on-going search for optical signals
of intelligent origin, carried out with colleagues from Lick Observatory
and the University of California at Berkeley. Drake also continues
to investigate radio telescope designs that optimize the chances
of success for SETI (he proposed the plan used in the design of
the Allen Telescope Array, based on some of his work of more than
forty years ago.) He is also interested in the possibility that
the very numerous red dwarf stars, stars that are much less bright
than the Sun, might host habitable planets. In this regard, he has
noted that the behavior of various objects in our own solar system
-- in particular the resonances between their rotation and orbital
periods -- when applied to some of the newly discovered extrasolar
planets, strongly suggests that most planets orbiting red dwarfs
will not keep one face towards their star, and thus are more likely
to be habitable. If this is proven correct, it will increase by
almost ten times the probable number of habitable planets in the