Experts to discuss solar hazards in space exploration

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This image, captured in December 2010 by NASA’s Solar TErrestrial RElations Observatory (STEREO) spacecraft, shows a solar filament almost one million miles long. Filaments are elongated clouds of cooler gases suspended above the sun by magnetic forces. They can be unstable and often break away from the surface. Credits: NASA

Understanding the hazards of space weather on crewed and robotic missions is vital to informing plans for NASA’s Journey to Mars and other missions into our solar system, and beyond. Veteran NASA astronaut John Grunsfeld and solar experts will discuss that and more during a panel discussion at 1 p.m. EDT, Tuesday, Oct. 25. The event will air live on NASA Television and stream on the agency’s website.

The panel discussion will take place at the National Air and Space Museum’s Moving Beyond Earth gallery at 6th Street and Independence Avenue S.W. in Washington.

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The event also will mark the 10th anniversary of the launch of NASA’s two Solar TErrestrial RElations Observatory (STEREO) spacecraft. The twin probes have advanced space weather forecasting more than any other spacecraft or solar observatory and enabled previously impossible early warnings of threatening conditions posed by the sun.

The discussion participants are:

  • David DeVorkin, senior curator for the National Air and Space Museum
  • Madhulika Guhathakurta, heliophysicist at NASA Headquarters
  • Barbara Thompson, solar scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center
  • John Grunsfeld, space shuttle astronaut, scientist and former head of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate
  • Janet Luhmann, STEREO principal investigator and senior research fellow at the University of California Berkeley’s Space Sciences Laboratory
  • Tamitha Skov, research scientist for The Aerospace Corporation – NASA
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