From left: Nadia Drake, Seth Shostak, Emily Callandrelli, Scott Ransom, Leland Melvin
Calling all inquiring minds and seekers of good times! The SPACEtalks event, happening Oct. 20 during the 2018 Jasper Dark Sky Festival, has been an audience favourite in the past, and this year’s illustrious panel of astronomers and academics are set to continue the trend.
With TED-talk style performances, expertly moderated debate and a healthy dose of audience participation, this event will tackle the Big Questions. The questions that change the world. The questions that keep you up at night. The questions that will remain a secret until the event draws nearer.
Don’t forget to get your Star Package, which lets you attend two great events at the Jasper Dark Sky Festival for one great price! For $140, dark sky enthusiasts can attend both the fascinating SPACEtalks panel AND the Keynote presentation by astronaut brothers Mark and Scott Kelly.
Also known as “The Space Gal,” this innovative Emmy nominated host of FOX’s Xploration Outer Space also works as an executive producer and a chief correspondent on Netflix’s show, Bill Nye Saves The World, which just launched its second season. Named by Adweek as one of the “11 Celebrities and Influencers Raising the Bar for Creativity in 2017”, Calandrelli also writes children’s novels (look for book five of her series Ada Lace, on the Case, coming out early 2019) that aim to increase scientific literacy and inspire more girls to pursue STEM careers. She is passionate about space exploration and believes that everyone, despite their educational background, can understand scientific topics.
This astronaut didn’t let the sudden partial loss of his hearing keep him from getting to space. This was just one of the many challenges Leland has overcome in his life (before joining NASA, a hamstring injury thwarted his NFL career) and his fascinating story of perseverance has inspired many. Hear how he ultimately traveled off-planet twice on Space Shuttle Atlantis to help build the International Space Station, helped develop the White House’s STEM education plan, headed NASA Education, and was chosen as an ICON MANN alongside Quincy Jones, Forrest Whitaker and Steve Harvey for their inspirational commitment to creating positive change throughout the world. He uses his life story as an athlete, astronaut, scientist, engineer, photographer, and musician to help inspire the next generation of explorers to pursue Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics (STEAM) careers.
With multiple scientific honours under his belt – including the Hertz Foundation Fellowship, Bart J. Bok prize, American Astronmoical Society’s Helen B. Warner Prize – and a position as a tenured astronomer with the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, Ransom has established himself as an expert on all things “pulsar”. He works on a wide variety of projects involving finding, timing, and exploiting pulsars of various types, searching for exotic pulsar systems and using them as tools to probe a variety of basic physics. He’s authored or co-authored over 200 refereed publications, and is a Research Professor with the Astronomy Department at the University of Virginia where he has several graduate students and teaches the occasional graduate class. If all that isn’t sufficiently impressive, he is also an avid outdoorsman with a passion for running, hiking and rock climbing.ers.
As the Senior Astronomer at the SETI Institute in Mountain View, California, and the Director of the Institute’s Center for SETI Research, Shostak conducts radio astronomy research on galaxies. He has published approximately 60 papers in professional journals, written nearly 500 articles for popular magazines and websites, and has contributed to many books as well. But his popular communication of science extends well beyond the written word: he gives approximately 60 talks annually at educational and corporate institutions, has been a Distinguished Speaker for the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and is frequently interviewed for TV and radio (or in the case of the one-hour weekly radio program called “Big Picture Science”, he hosts). It’s no wonder he won the Klumpke-Roberts Award for the popularization of astronomy.
Nadia Drake is a contributing writer at National Geographic, where she writes for the magazine and news site, and covers everything from planets to animals to emerging jungle tribes. Before that, she was a science reporter at Wired, and before that, she was the astronomy reporter at Science News. She also holds a PhD in genetics from Cornell University and a certificate in science communication from UC-Santa Cruz. Her byline has appeared in Nature, New Scientist, and BBC Earth, among others. Drake frequently hits the road in search of stories and has reported from the jungles of Peru and Indonesian Borneo, Mars-on-Earth, a flying telescope, the deserts of the Middle East, and the shrinking, slumping glaciers at Mt. Kilimanjaro’s summit. She loves spiders and her favorite moon is Iapetus.
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