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    2017 Galaxy Forum

    Space enthusiasts will be "ahead of the curve" with information from the 2017 Galaxy Forum to be held Saturday, August 19, at the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center. Topics for this free event will be:

    "Lord of the Rings--the Cassini Mission to Saturn" will be given by Todd Barber. Barber has been NASA-JPL's lead propulsion engineer on the Cassini mission since 2002. Cassini has orbited Saturn for 13 years. In its aptly named "Grand Finale" Cassini swoops between Saturn and its innermost ring ending in the probe's crash into Saturn on September 15, 2107. What has Cassini revealed over the years? What kind of close-ups, what kind of details, what do we hope to learn from this final mission? Barber is a Wichita native and Southeast High School grad.

    "The 2017 Total Solar Eclipse: What, When, Where, Why?" As a primer on this unique event, Dean Stramel, professor of chemistry at Fort Hays State University, will look into why this is such a big deal that people travel all over the globe to see it. What is the science behind it? What are the logistics to watching it? This will be information that can be put to use immediately on Monday morning--eclipse day.

    "Mars: Through the Eyes (and Lasers) of Curiosity" will be given by Sarah Lamm. A Kansas State senior, she has spent two summers at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico working with data from Curiosity's ChemCam instrument (it's the part that looks like the head and eye of Curiosity.) Her team's studies about the presence of manganese, an indicator of the presence of liquid water, has important implications for the habitability of Mars. She will share these and other findings and what they mean. Sarah, a Colby native, is a great illustration of what young Kansans are doing in the space sciences.