From Facilitating Citizen Science to meeting Space Science Stars and Back Again

Holding a vial of moon dust in my hands, how awesome is that? Very, yet holding moon dust was just the icing on the cake-of-awesome that was this year’s LASP CCLDAS New Media Practitioners workshop.

hand modeling courtesy Dauna Colter

Other highlights include attending presentations by Alan Stern and Mihály Horányi. Ice Investigators will know that Alan Stern is Principle Investigator (PI) of the New Horizons mission. Moon Mappers should know that Mihály Horányi is at the forefront of Moon science, conducting experimental investigations for CCLDAS on dusty plasmas (Moon Dust).

Where will Alan Stern and his team send New Horizons after it’s Pluto fly by?
As Ice Investigators, you are helping to “churn,” as Alan Stern puts it, earth based telescope data into Kuiper belt object (KBO) data. KBO data will be used to decide where New Horizons goes next, and that place may well be a very exciting and interesting place.

After absorbing the voluminous content in Dr. Stern’s presentations, as well as his cogent and logical argument that Pluto should be designated a planet, this ComosQuest team member came away with a deeper and growing understanding of the importance of the Citizen Science projects and Planetary science in general. The same applies for the entire workshop experience: From the gracious hospitality extended by everyone at LASP, from Communications and Outreach Specialist Marisa Lubeck to Director of Mission Operations & Data Systems Bill Possel, to the top notch presentations by the Southwest Research Institute’s Hal Levison, CCLDAS PI Mihály Horányi, and Ball Aerospace’s Richard Dissly, and including the extremely helpful and informative table discussions with my fellow attendees, there is no doubt here that the goals of the workshop were met and exceeded.

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