It's the Small Worlds, After All!

Oct. 18, 2015, 1:30 p.m.

Sunday Science Lecture with Dr. Michelle Thaller

While the words “dwarf planet,” “asteroid” or “moon” may bring to mind dull, uninteresting places, nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, scientists are just starting to realize how diverse and profoundly important the smaller worlds of our solar system are. The water in your body right now likely traveled to the ancient Earth via comets and asteroids, and several moons of the outer solar system may harbor the right conditions for life today. Out in the cold reaches of space, Pluto greeted us with a warm heart and revealed spectacular terrain: ice mountains, nitrogen glaciers, and possibly hidden liquid water oceans underneath. Come along with us to find out just how hugely important these small worlds are.

Dr. Michelle Thaller is the Assistant Director of Science at NASA’s Goddard Spaceflight Center. She has a Bachelor’s in astrophysics from Harvard, and a Ph.D. from Georgia State University. After a postdoctoral 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.

Michelle is one of the regular hosts of Discovery Science Channel’s “How the Universe Works.” She has received several high profile awards for online 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.

For more information, see Friends of the Planetarium October 2015 Weekend

Doors open: 1 p.m. Show begins: 1:30 p.m.

Our capacity is 58 seats. We set aside 20 seats to accommodate those who arrive without a reservation, so if the show is sold out you can still try to attend by arriving close to 1 p.m. However, although we will do whatever we can to seat all comers, there is no guarantee of admission without a reservation.