Wednesday morning commenced with leadership activities. Scholars once again discussed the ethical issues that arise in many scientific areas. The hour long discussion was followed by Wayne Lee’s (Mars mission planner, NASA) second lecture. This lecture focused on NASA’s Constellation project- sending men back to the moon by the year 2020. Wayne told tales about the mission planning, especially of the space craft that will land scientists back on Luna ground. He inspired scholars to involve themselves with the project in the future. From being research scientists to astronauts, they can all make a great contribution to discovering the moon and, ultimately, to discover the vast Universe that we do not yet know much about.
The International Science School was honoured to have Jill Tarter (Director, SETI institute) speak for the second time in the afternoon. Jill’s lecture was full of exciting information about extremophiles and exoplanets. In the follow up, Dr Karl, ever his charming and funny self, gave the scholars yet another spectacular showcase of the highlighting moments in Science.
The night brings the grand Gala Reception at the University of Sydney Great Hall. In an exquisite setting, scholars met the many ISS alumni who have admirable careers in scientific and legal fields. It was an opportunity for them to talk to and learn from people who were in their position many years ago. They also greeted and thanked the sponsors of the ISS, who are supporting the school to operate in perpetuity. Professor Harry Messel gave an inspiring speech, encouraging scholars to work hard for their dreams and reinstate his faith in their future success. Two of the Scholars were honoured with prizes for leadership and scientific leadership amongst their peers. Matthew Georgiades (New South Wales, Australia) was awarded the Len Basser Prize for showing leadership skills in academic aspects. Joshua Roberts (United Kingdom) was awarded the Mulpha Award for International Leadership for bringing together the diverse cultures of the International Science School. The amazing night sparkled with a delicious, four tiers chocolate fountain surrounded by plenty of strawberries and marshmallows.
Although the ISS was coming to an end and the bright futures of these scholars are uncertain; the inspirational memories of this night will stay with them for many years to come.
“As we shall return with peace and hope for all mankind.” Back in 1972, nobody would have imagined that over 35 years would pass with that message from Apollo 17 commander Gene Cernan still standing as the last words transmitted from the surface of the Moon. Today, NASA is working to fulfill its pledge to return astronauts to the Moon as a follow-on to perhaps the great achievement in aviation and exploration history. If all goes well, astronauts will again be exploring the Moon by 2020. This time, plans call for four crew members to explore for up to seven days at a time with eventual goals of possibly building a permanently occupied lunar base. Doubling both the crew and stay time from the Apollo flights will take a booster larger than the original Saturn 5 Moon rocket and a lunar lander taller than a two-story house. This talk will describe NASA’s current lunar exploration plans as well as the gigantic machines currently under design to make it possible.
We discovered the very first planetary worlds in orbit around a body other than the Sun in 1991. Many of these planets are more massive than Jupiter, and some orbit closer to their host stars than Mercury around the Sun. To date we have not found another planetary system that is an exact analog of the Earth (and the other planets of our solar system) orbiting a solartype star, but we think that is because we have not yet had the right observing instruments.
Those are on the way.