Event Information: Celebrating the Scientific Legacy of NASA and Apollo

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Wichita State University and the Wichita Space Initiative are pleased to announce a symposium and student competitions celebrating the scientific legacy of NASA and the Apollo program.  The event is funded through the NASA Kansas Space Grant Consortium.  It will be free and open to the public, taking place on Saturday, October 19, 2019.  It will feature two sessions of talks, a keynote lecture, as well as competitions open to Kansas middle school, high school, and college students.

Symposium Program:

Location: Santa Fe Room (233), Rhatigan Student Center

9:00am: Registration

Morning Session:

  • 9:15am: Opening Remarks
  • 9:25am: Damon Penner (Wichita State), "Project Gemini: Making 'When' Into 'Now'"
  • 9:50am: Courtney Johnson (Kansas State), "A Glass Ceiling to the Stars is No Match for Kansas Women"
  • 10:15am: Dr. Joseph Tash, Dr. Lane Christenson, and Dr. Gustavo Blanco (K.U. Medical Center), "The Apollo Legacy and the Potential for Multigenerational Survival in Space"
  • 10:40am: Coffee Break
  • 10:55am: Dr. Chinyere Okafor (Wichita State), "In Touch with Reality - Women Engineers and Equal Rights"
  • 11:20am: Dr. David Miller (Carmel Research Center), "Cosmic Rays and the Voyagers: From Interstellar Space to the Earth and Back Again"
  • 11:45am: Ian Varga (Florida State), "The Big Question: NASA and the Search for Extraterrestrial Life"

12:10pm: Lunch Break (note that lunch is not provided)

1:10pm-2:50pm: Middle School and High School Poster Competitions (Lucas Room; 265 RSC)

1:30pm-2:30pm: Tour of "Lowell Nesbitt: Apollo, 1969" Exhibit; John Bardo Center

Afternoon Session:

  • 3:00pm: Emma Worthington (Fort Hays State), "665 Days in Space: The Peggy Whitson Journey"
  • 3:25pm: Jim Remar (Cosmosphere), "Cosmosphere & SpaceWorks: Preserving Space History"
  • 3:50pm: Dr. Philip K. Tompkins (C.U. Boulder), "The Secrets of Apollo Success" Click here to download a copy of Dr. Tompkins' paper.
  • 4:15pm: Dr. John Rubin (HHMI Tangled Bank Studios), "Voyager: Moments of Discovery"
  • 4:40pm: Sarah Lamm (Northern Arizona University), "Mars: Through the Eyes (and Lasers) of Curiosity"

5:05pm: Break

5:20pm: Keynote Lecture, Dr. Roger D. Launius, "Why Go to the Moon? Apollo, the Space Race, and the Many Faces of Lunar Exploration."


Dr Roger Launius

Photo credit: Smithsonian Institution

Dr. Roger D. Launius is Principal of Launius Historical Services. Between 2002 and 2017 he worked in several positions at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., most recently as Associate Director for Collections and Curatorial Affairs. Between 1990 and 2002 he served as chief historian of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. During at 35-year career as a U.S. government historian, he has been involved in many issues relating to public history and the history of aerospace technology. He has written or edited more than thirty books on aerospace history, most recently Apollo’s Legacy: The Space Race in Perspective (Smithsonian Books, May 2019) and Reaching for the Moon: A Short History of the Space Race (Yale University Press, June 2019) as well as The Smithsonian History of Space Exploration: Discoveries from the Ancient World to the Extraterrestrial Future (Smithsonian Books, 2018), NASA Spaceflight: A History of Innovation (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018), and Historical Analogs for the Stimulation of Space Commerce (NASA, 2014). In addition, he is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the International Academy of Astronautics, and the American Astronautical Society; and Associate Fellow of the American Institute for Aeronautics and Astronautics. He is frequently consulted by the electronic and print media for his views on space issues, and has been a guest commentator on National Public Radio and all the major television news networks.

Click here for information about Parking at WSU

Click here for instructions for poster finalists.