Cosmic Explorations Speaker Series

Cosmic Explorations Speaker Series Plus 2021-2022

The LPI’s Cosmic Explorations Speaker Series (CESS) strives to connect the public to the exciting research, missions, and individuals in planetary and space science.


In LPI’s 2021–2022 Cosmic Explorations Speaker Series (CESS), scientific leaders guide us through the universe in five thematic lectures focusing on the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). The premier space observatory of the future, the JWST is an engineering triumph that will reveal the early universe, lifecycles of galaxies and stars, and features of faraway worlds. Presentations will be held virtually on Zoom and LPI’s YouTube channel until further notice.


CESS Lineup

The Most Powerful Telescope in Space

October 2021

Watch the recording of this presentation to hear from Dr. Walter Kiefer (LPI) about the objectives of the JWST mission, the telescope’s unique capabilities, and the mysteries that it will illuminate.

Unraveling the Birth of Stars and Planetary Systems

November 2021

Watch the recording of this presentation by Dr. Elena Sabbi (STScI) to learn how the JWST will revolutionize our ability to explore the formation of stars and planets in our galaxy and beyond.

Exploring Distant Worlds

Thursday, February 17
7:00 p.m. CST

The JWST will gather fundamental new data about the characteristics of planets orbiting stars far beyond our solar system. Join us to explore what we know about exoplanets and the fundamental questions that confound us. This presentation will be given by Dr. Susan Mullally, Deputy Project Scientist for the JWST at the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI).

Details about how to attend this event will be added soon!

Investigating the Origins of Life

Spring 2022

Webb’s instruments will study the atmospheres of planetary bodies in our solar system and beyond, providing clues about the potential for these other worlds to support life.

Looking Inward:  Exploring our Solar System with Webb

Spring 2022

The JWST abilities will complement NASA’s ongoing planetary missions. Join us to hear how Webb’s data will provide insight into our understanding of Mars and the outer planets, moons, dwarf planets, asteroids, comets, and more!


This year we’re including additional presentations about diverse and ground-breaking topics in planetary science, from NASA’s return missions to Venus to the psychology of human space travel, which will be held virtually with recordings available online.

CESS+ Lineup

The Adventures of OSIRIS-REx:  Journey to Asteroid Bennu and Daring Sample Return

October 2021

Watch the recording of this presentation by Dolores Hill (Univ. of Arizona, LPL) about the OSIRIS-REx Mission and how it is advancing planetary defense and our understanding of the solar system.

Exploring Inferno:  NASA’s Return to Venus

Winter 2021/2022

Mapping the Interior of Mars

Spring 2022

Having trouble joining?

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  • As a last resort, join us by phone at 346-248-7799; Meeting ID: 937 7647 5407

Watch Recordings

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

Request a Speaker

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

Request a Speaker  

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