Lab’s popular lecture series delves into space science

Science on Saturday

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s “Science on Saturday” lecture series returns Feb. 8 and runs through Feb. 29. Four different lectures with the theme of “Science in Space” will be offered.

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s (LLNL’s) popular lecture series, “Science on Saturday,” returns Feb. 8 and runs through Feb. 29 at the Bankhead Theater, located at 2400 First St. in Livermore.

The series will offer four different lectures with the theme “Science in Space.” Each lecture is presented by leading LLNL researchers who are joined by master high school science teachers.

Two presentations targeted to middle and high school students are offered at 9:30 and 11:15 a.m.

Here is the complete schedule of lectures:

  • Feb. 8: “Return to Apollo: Geologic Evolution of a Young Moon,” presented by LLNL scientist Lars Borg and Granada High School teacher Tom Shefler. This talk will cover the age relations of samples returned by the Apollo space missions from 1969 to 1972 and how they constrain the origin and evolution of the Earth’s moon.
  • Feb. 15: “Health in Space: Developing New Tools for the Trip to Mars,” presented by LLNL scientists Matt Coleman and Matthias Frank, NASA AMES Research Center scientist David Loftus along with Tracy High School teacher Erin McKay. This talk will cover how LLNL and NASA Ames Research Center are developing a novel diagnostic instrument to help provide medical care on deep space missions. The technology consists of a blood analysis system, based on microfluidics, together with a breath analysis system that uses carbon nanotube sensors. The technology is designed to support future missions to the moon and Mars, and it is expected to be used for terrestrial medicine as well, in a variety of arenas where medical resources are limited.
  • Feb. 22: “Planetary Defense: Avoiding a Cosmic Catastrophe,” presented by LLNL scientists Megan Bruck Syal and Mary Burkey along with retired Los Gatos High School teacher Dan Burns. This talk will cover several different scenarios that can be taken to mitigate or even prevent a disaster if an Earth-threatening asteroid is discovered in time. Scientists at LLNL provide computer simulations in preparation of these scenarios, so if the time comes where an asteroid is headed our way, we will be prepared.
  • Feb. 29: “Monitoring Microbiomes: Detection on the International Space Station,” presented by LLNL scientists Crystal Jaing and Nick Be along with Dougherty Valley High School teacher Katherine Huang. This talk will cover the issues surrounding the interplay between the microbial community of the International Space Station (ISS) and its crewmembers and how it is important for assessing and preventing biomedical and structural complications for long-term human spaceflight missions. The goal of this Lab study is to shed light on future crew and ISS environmental microbial surveillance efforts and the design of preventive measures to maintain crew habitat and minimize risk against potentially problematic microorganisms aboard spacecraft destined for long-term space travel.

Science on Saturday is sponsored by LLNL’s Science Education Program. There is no pre-registration; seating is on a first-come basis and is free to attend.

The lecture series will be available to view at a later date via UCTV and the LLNL YouTube Channel.

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