NASA beams into Comic-Con@Home this weekend to talk space travel and more

NASA is beaming into Comic-Con@Home 2021 to talk space exploration, science fiction and where they intersect.
NASA is beaming into Comic-Con@Home 2021 to talk space exploration, science fiction and where they intersect. (Image credit: NASA)

NASA is beaming into the world of comics, movies and science fiction to talk space exploration, driving and Mars and the origins of life itself during the virtual Comic-Con@Home 2021 this weekend. 

The NASA/sci-fi crossover begins today (July 23) and runs through Saturday in three different panels with space themes. They're all free to join, but may be late at night, depending on your time zone, so you'll want to plan accordingly. They're also available to stream later via YouTube, courtesy of Comic-Con@Home. Here's what and when to watch, including a few others that might catch your interest, and they're official Comic-Con@Home descriptions.

Friday, July 23

Space Teams: Solving Real NASA Problems with Virtual Simulations and Competitions
6 p.m. EDT (3 p.m. PDT/2200 GMT)

Ed-Tech has grown to a place where students can have access to the same tools that professionals use and in the case of space are given the opportunity to solve real problems related to missions to our Moon, Mars, and beyond. Join Mark Murphy (producer of Future Tech Live!) in discussion with Dr. Greg Chamitoff (former NASA astronaut and Director of Texas A&M’s Aero Space Technology, Research & Operations (ASTRO), Jackie Carpenter (founder, One Giant Leap Australia), and Timothy J. Urban (director, Texas Space Grant Consortium) as they introduce the platform and its possibilities to you, from piloting to terra-forming to creating habitats and spacecraft."

Exploring our Origins with NASA
8 p.m. EDT (5 p.m. PDT/0000 GMT)

"Anthony Rapp (actor, Star Trek: Discovery) joins Dr. John Mather (astrophysicist), Dr. Ann Nguyen (planetary scientist), Dr. Laura Kerber (planetary scientist), and Dr. Allegra LeGrande (physical research scientist) to discuss how NASA’s research and missions help us understand how our universe, our solar system, and our Earth came to be."

Beyond Star Trek: Menagerie and The Expanse: Space Law Sci-Fi vs. Sci-Fact
9 p.m. EDT (6 p.m. PDT/0100 GMT)

"Host “Dr. Trek” Larry Nemecek (The Trek Files) takes a look at modern space law and issues, U.N. treaty-making, and how it all stacks up against the portrayal we get in our various future-space franchises—thanks to a panel of law-practicing or law-adjacent space industry pros and onetime NASA leaders who all wear their geek space epic on their sleeve: Mike Gold (executive VP, Civil Space, Redwire Space), Jessica Noble (general counsel, Nanoracks LLC), Daniel Porras (director of strategic partnerships & communications, Secure World Foundation), and Theresa Hitchens (air and space reporter, BreakingDefense)—with “recovering attorney” Melinda Snodgrass (writer of Star Trek: The Next Generation’s classic “The Measure of a Man,” Data’s “human” rights trial) aboard to boot. These modern-day Samuel T. Cogleys and Jake Siskos are keen to share what they, and we all, must do to get today's space law issues on the public’s radar—before they become a problem . . . sooner than you think!"

Saturday, July 24

No Tow Trucks Beyond Mars
9 p.m. EDT (6 p.m. PDT/0100 GMT)

"David Rosing (NASA JPL Mars Sample Return system engineer), Shonte J. Tucker (JPL thermal engineer), Kobie Boykins (JPL Mechatronics Engineer), and Rhonda M. Morgan (NASA JPL Instrument Engineer) discuss how we go boldly where there’s no one around to fix it. Hear stories from the trenches of the heartbreaks, close calls, and adventures of real-life landing (and flying!) on Mars and our round-table discussion of what Netflix got right in their movie Stowaway."

Sunday, July 25

The Science of Star Wars
6 p.m. EDT (3 p.m. PDT/2200 GMT)

Real-life science is everywhere in the galaxy far, far away. Astronomer Lisa Will, Ph.D., astrobiologist Angela Zoumplis, and geologist and paleontologist Jim Lehane, Ph.D. answer questions like, What do tauntauns eat? How would Death Star debris affect the worlds below? Why does the surface of Crait taste salty? Concept designer Jake Lunt Davies (Star Wars episodes 7-9, Rogue One, and Solo) shares the directions the creative team was given when designing creatures, aliens, and droids as well as some of his amazing artwork. Hear how science influences Star Wars and how the fantasy epic continues to inspire scientists. The panel is produced by Andrea Decker of The Fleet Science Center in San Diego and moderated by the hosts of the podcast Star Warsologies, Melissa Miller and James Floyd, both freelance writers for Star Wars Insider magazine."

Star Trek panel on demand

In case you missed it, Paramount+ held a panel for its upcoming new shows on Friday that featured new trailers for season two of "Star Trek: Lower Decks" and the for the launch of "Star Trek: Prodigy" later this fall. You can catch that panel on demand here.

Paramount+: Peak Animation with the Star Trek Universe, The Harper House, and Stephen Colbert Presents Tooning Out The News

"Paramount+ and CBS Studios present the cast and executive producers of the new Paramount+ Original adult animated comedy series, The Harper House for a discussion and exclusive first look at the series with the debut of the official trailer. Panelists include Rhea Seehorn, Jason Lee, and Ryan Flynn with additional special appearances from VyVy Nguyen, Lance Krall, Gary Anthony Williams, Nyima Funk, and Gabourey Sidibe plus creator/executive producer Brad Neely alongside executive producer Katie Krentz and supervising director Brian Sheesley."

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Tariq Malik

Tariq is the Editor-in-Chief of and joined the team in 2001, first as an intern and staff writer, and later as an editor. He covers human spaceflight, exploration and space science, as well as skywatching and entertainment. He became's Managing Editor in 2009 and Editor-in-Chief in 2019. Before joining, Tariq was a staff reporter for The Los Angeles Times covering education and city beats in La Habra, Fullerton and Huntington Beach. In October 2022, Tariq received the Harry Kolcum Award for excellence in space reporting from the National Space Club Florida Committee. He is also an Eagle Scout (yes, he has the Space Exploration merit badge) and went to Space Camp four times as a kid and a fifth time as an adult. He has journalism degrees from the University of Southern California and New York University. You can find Tariq at and as the co-host to the This Week In Space podcast with space historian Rod Pyle on the TWiT network. To see his latest project, you can follow Tariq on Twitter @tariqjmalik.