Space fans, the Orlando Science Center were treated the perfect date night on Saturday, Sept. 17.
As part of its ongoing Science Night Live series for adults over 21, the center focused on space. In addition to special exhibits from NASA Center for Life Cycle Design, Kennedy Space Center, the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation, Jacobs aerospace and defense contractor, NASA Solar System Ambassadors, and University of Central Florida’s College of Science, guest speakers chatted about journeying to Mars and NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission to asteroid Bennu.
UCF physics professor Humberto Campins, a member of the asteroid mission, spoke about goals of the mission and why it matters. The spacecraft launched from Kennedy Space Center earlier this month. The spacecraft was designed to bring back a sample of the asteroid, which may help scientists better understand how the solar system formed. The data collected may also aid the understanding of potentially hazardous asteroids that could threaten Earth.
Shuttle commander and three-time spaceflight veteran Andrew M. Allen presented a “Journey to Mars: An Astronaut’s Perspective.” Allen has logged more than 900 hours in space. He will talk about what a trip to Mars might be like from an astronaut’s perspective.
The science center’s Crosby Observatory was also open giving guests the opportunity to check out the night sky through the 10-inch refractor telescope, one of the largest in the state available to the public.