Cosmic Explorations Speaker Series

Over the next ten years, five spacecraft will launch into the solar system to explore ten incredibly diverse objects. This armada of spacecraft will set their sights on the Moon, Europa, Titan, and seven asteroids. The 2020-2021 Cosmic Explorations Speaker Series features scientific leaders of these exciting missions, each describing how their mission will contribute to our growing, ever-changing knowledge of the solar system.

Dragonfly: Exploring an Organic-Rich Moon

May 13, 2021, 7:30 p.m. (CDT)

Dragonfly: Exploring an Organic-Rich Moon

Join us as Dr. Melissa Trainer (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center) describes NASA’s Dragonfly mission to Titan. This large icy moon of Saturn has a subsurface ocean of liquid water, methane lakes and rivers on the surface, and methane clouds and rain. Other more complex organics are formed in the atmosphere. Dragonfly is a rotorcraft with a sophisticated scientific payload, designed to take advantage of Titan's dense atmosphere by flying to and landing at different sites on this geologically complex moon. This revolutionary mission concept will enable scientists to characterize the habitability of Titan's environment, to investigate how far pre-life chemistry has progressed, and even to search for chemical signatures of life.

Dr. Melissa Trainer
Dr. Melissa Trainer

Dr. Melissa Trainer is a Deputy Principal Investigator for the Dragonfly mission to Saturn's moon Titan. Dr. Trainer is also the lead for the Dragonfly Mass Spectrometer, an instrument that will measure the composition of Titan’s surface, help us understand Titan’s chemistry, and look for chemical hints of life. Dr. Trainer has been at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center since 2009 as a Research Space Scientist in the Planetary Environments Laboratory. Her research interests include the composition of planetary atmospheres and how organic molecules and particles form in atmospheres and get processed in the environment.

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Until further notice all presentations in the 2020-2021 series will be streamed online only. There will be no in-person presentations. Check this page for information on connecting to the presentations.

Dr. Rachel Klima
Europa Clipper

January 28, 2021
7:30 p.m. (CST)

Dr. Rachel Klima

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Recordings of past presentations can be viewed on the LPI YouTube channel and in the Cosmic Exploration Speaker Series archive.

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Scientists and staff of the LPI are available for presentations to schools, civic groups, and other organizations in the Houston region.

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