The National Space Society (NSS) will hold "A Day in Space" Thursday (July 16) virtually on multiple platforms, featuring keynote speakers such as Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin and exoplanet scientist Sara Seager.
To watch the day-long event live, head over to the "A Day in Space" event page and scroll down to pick your preferred viewing option. The conference is available for free on the e360tv streaming TV network, the NSS Facebook page and YouTube page, e360tv's Roku/AppleTV/Amazon Fire and several mobile systems, as well as on Space.com's YouTube channel.
The conference starts at 11 a.m. EDT (1500 GMT) and major topics include the 50th anniversary of NASA's Apollo program that landed astronauts on the moon between 1969 and 1972, the Mariner 4 Mars mission that wrongly led some scientists to believe the Red Planet had no evidence of water in its history, the New Horizons mission to Pluto and the outer solar system, and examining the business of space (including diversity, inclusion, space science and medicine).
"If there is a theme, I’d say it is exploring space with a robust human spaceflight program and robotic probes, and going there to stay," said co-organizer Rod Pyle, editor of the NSS publication "Ad Astra," in an email to Space.com.
"We have presentations that range from reflections on the Space Age — by those where were there through today — and well into the future. We talk about both traditional spaceflight, the exciting accomplishments of many NewSpace companies, the study of exoplanets, and much more."
The full schedule of speakers is on the event website in both EDT and PDT. Some of the participants include:
- Buzz Aldrin, a former NASA astronaut best known for being the lunar module pilot on Apollo 11 and the second person to land on the moon. He has written several books about his adventures and continues to regularly participate in public space events at age 90. Other Apollo astronauts will be there, including Fred Haise, Walter Cunningham and Al Worden, as well as NASA flight director Gerry Griffin.
- Sian Proctor, a geoscientist, explorer and science communication expert who has spent time at several analog space habitats: the Hawai'i Space Exploration Analog and Simulation (HI-SEAS), the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) and the Polish LunAres simulated moon habitat. Proctor will be a co-host of "A Day in Space" along with Geoffrey Notkin, who is NSS president and star of The Science Channel's "Meteorite Men."
- Shawna Pandya, a scientist-astronaut candidate with citizen scientist company Project PoSSUM whose career path includes expertise in medicine, being an "aquanaut" (underwater astronaut), public speaker, martial artist, advanced diver, skydiver and pilot in training.
- Sara Seager, an astrophysicist and planetary scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who studies exoplanet atmospheres. Her many projects include being deputy science director for the MIT-led Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) that is searching for habitable worlds orbiting nearby stars.
NSS organized this event after the start of the novel coronavirus pandemic, which shut down many major space conferences and events across the world, forcing the organization to cancel its annual International Space Development Conference (ISDC) in Dallas. "A Day in Space" will feature many of the same speakers scheduled for ISDC, with an emphasis on shooting content in 4K to make it "as professional and engaging as possible," Pyle said.
"A Day in Space" also works to reach beyond the traditional space enthusiast audience to appeal to people new to the field, added Pyle. All that's required is a love for spaceflight, science and exploration.
Thousands of people are expected the virtual event, with hopes by the organizers that tens of thousands might choose to tune into the seven-hour webcast (which includes periodic breaks for attendees to stretch their legs at home.)
While NSS is looking forward to bringing back ISDC when it is safe to do so, the organization said it hopes to offer regular online events in the future to supplement its normal programming.
"'A Day in Space' is our kickoff major virtual event, and we’re looking forward to creating much more of this kind of premiere content," Pyle said.
"Our intent is to bring the NSS to a new level of media engagement and to really connect with a much broader spectrum or people, from seasoned space watchers to young people from around the world looking for ways to engage the new frontier in this new space age. This is an extraordinary time in spaceflight, one that calls for extraordinary outreach ... and that’s what 'A Day in Space' is all about."
Follow Elizabeth Howell on Twitter @howellspace. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook.