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The WSI's Space Exploration Lecture Series is a public forum for WSU faculty, students, and community members to share research and other creative projects related to space exploration.  Space Exploration Lectures are generally held on select Thursdays at 3:30 pm.  All WSI talks are free and open to the public. 

Anyone interested in giving a talk in the series is encouraged to email the WSI Coordinator.

Read below for a list of upcoming and past talks.

Upcoming Talks 


Caleb Gimar, "Looking into the Heart of the Sun: A Space Mission Concept", Thursday, March 28, 3:30 pm, 233 RSC.

This talk will describe design studies conducted at WSU for a novel approach to observing the solar neutrino flux. Neutrinos are weakly interacting subatomic particles that often result from nuclear processes, and they are the only direct insight we have into the core of the Sun. Earlier experiments successfully detected solar-origin neutrinos, proving hydrogen fusion to be the Sun’s energy production mechanism. However, these experiments' large size and Earth-based location limit their capabilities. Our concept is to station a solar neutrino detection satellite in an orbit that comes within 3 to 7 solar-radii of the sun, which could revolutionize solar interior studies. At such proximity, the neutrino flux increases by several orders of magnitude, allowing for a much smaller detector design than Earth-based devices. An off-ecliptic orbital location also allows for fusion core geometry studies. 

Steve Carothers, "Space Shuttle Ascent Aborts", Thursday, April 18, 3:30 pm, 261 RSC.

Prior to his work with Bombardier, Steve Carothers worked for 15 years with United Space Alliance at the NASA Johnson Space Center as a Space Shuttle flight controller in Mission Control. His talk will discuss his primary duties while at NASA JSC, which included real-time support as an Ascent/Entry Guidance and Procedures Officer during launch, deorbit, and landing. He also worked as a Rendezvous Onboard Navigation Officer where he helped the Space Shuttle rendezvous with the International Space Station and the Hubble Space Telescope.


Past Talks

Dr. Atri Dutta, "How to Fly a Spacecraft"

Thursday, February 28, 1:00 pm, 264 Rhatigan Student Center (Spencer Room)

Join the WSI as we here from Aerospace Engineering Professor Atri Dutta. Here is the abstract of his talk: The foundation of modern-day astrodynamics has its roots in the works of Kepler, Newton, Lagrange and other notable scientists and mathematicians. The traditional description of the path of a space object is in terms of geometric parameters (orbit size and shape, and inclination of orbital plane) and a set of Euler angles. The space industry has adopted these classical orbital elements or related transformations to describe a spacecraft’s path. A spacecraft can use its propulsion system to alter its path, and the design of spacecraft maneuvers (especially low-thrust) require the solution of a complex optimal control problem. Our recent work at WSU Control, Optimization Research and Education (CORE) Laboratory have established a new description of orbital motion using dynamical coordinates that are specially suitable for the solution of these optimal control problems. The talk will provide a brief overview of the history of astrodynamics, techniques for spacecraft trajectory optimization, the new dynamic model and its application to different space missions.

Jim Remar, "SpaceWorks and NASA's 50th. Anniversary of Apollo 11 Restoration Project"

Thursday, January 31st, 3:30 pm, 100 Lindquist Hall 

Jim Remar, Cosmosphere CEO, will speak with the WSI about the Cosmosphere's ongoing restoration work for NASA in preparation for the 50th. Anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission.

Dr. James S.J. Schwartz, "Will Space Mining Save The World?" 

Thursday, November 15, 3:30 pm, 231 Hubbard Hall.

Join the WSI for the inaugural Space Exploration Lecture Series talk!  With the passage of the 2015 Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act and the similar Luxembourg Law on Use of Resources in Space there is growing excitement about the extraction and use of resources from the Moon and near-Earth asteroids.  James Schwartz, editor of The Ethics of Space Exploration (Springer 2016) and a leading figure in the philosophy and ethics of space exploration, will explore the issue of space mining from a policy-perspective.  His talk will highlight the relative scarcity of easily accessible space resources, arguing that space mining must be regulated carefully in order to ensure the sustainability of spaceflight activities.  The talk will be based on a chapter of his upcoming book, tentatively titled The Value of Space Science.

Watch Dr. Schwartz's talk on YouTube.