Wednesday Evening, August 5
Ocean Worlds of Our Solar System – Michelle Thaler
When it comes to worlds with liquid water in our solar system, Earth is currently in fourth place for the total amount. Some of these oceans have just been discovered, while others have tantalized us for decades. What is left of Mars’ once-vast seas? What lies under the icy crusts of Europa, Enceladus, and Ganymede? Where else might we find water (and the possibility of life) in places we never thought to look? Looking farther out into space, we are also searching for the ultimate source of this water, as well as the building blocks of life.
Dr. Michelle Thaller is a nationally recognized spokesperson for astronomy and science, and the Assistant Director of Science at NASA’s Goddard Spaceflight Center. Michelle has a Bachelor’s in astrophysics from Harvard, and a Ph.D. from Georgia State University. After a post-doctoral research fellowship at Caltech, Michelle became particularly interested in public outreach and science communication and served as the public outreach lead for the Spitzer Space Telescope at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory before moving to Goddard. She is currently serving a one-year leadership fellowship in the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in D.C.
Michelle is one of the regular hosts of “The Universe,” series on the History Channel, NatGeo’s “the Known Universe” and Discovery Science Channel’s “How the Universe Works,” and “The Stripped Universe.” She also serves as a science advisor for John and Hank Greene’s Crash Course series on PBS Home Video, which reaches several million online viewers each month. She has received several high profile awards for on-line science journalism and science leadership. Behind the scenes, Michelle has led efforts to develop high-quality apps for smartphones and tablets, as well as involve NASA missions in social media. In her current role, Michelle represents all of NASA’s science themes, from Earth science and climate change, the Sun and space weather, solar system exploration, all the way out to cosmology and the deep universe.
The keynote dinner will take place on Wednesday evening in the conference center’s ballroom. The meal costs $36 (the government per diem rate). For the dinner, you have two options: herb roasted salmon or chicken marsala. The conference center will accommodate all dietary restrictions. You cannot attend the keynote dinner without buying the dinner. If you buy the keynote dinner, a ticket will be given to you as part of your registration packet. All food payments are due no later than July 20th.