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Dissecting Science: Getting to Mars

Dissecting Science Getting to Mars

Science enthusiasts gathered on Sesame Street on November 14, 2017 to hear about the advances toward and challenges we face in Getting to Mars. NASA Astronaut Kathryn Hire, NASA Hall of Fame's Youngest Member Dr. Joel Levine, and one of the leaders of NASA's Human Spaceflight Architecture Team, Patrick Troutman, shared their knowledge and extensive experience on the why, how and when of getting humans to Mars.

Thank you to our speakers and our partners: National Aeronautics and Space Administration, NASA Langley Research Center, NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, MathScience Innovation Center, Virginia FIRST Robotics Team Aluminati, and the Virginia Space Grant Consortium. Food and drink provided by Boka Truck, Monique’s Crepes, Petersburg Provisions and Slideways Mobile Bistro.

This evening was inspired by the PBS show Beyond A Year in Space that aired on November 15.

Check out the Facebook Photo Album from this special evening of science exploration. #RVA2MARS

Watch the full program:


Dr. Joel S. Levine - “Becoming a Two Planet Species: Why Mars? Why Humans?”

Dr. Joel S. Levine was appointed Research Professor in the Department of Applied Science at the College of William and Mary in 2011 after a 41-year career at NASA. At NASA, Levine was a Senior Research Scientist in the Science Directorate at the NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia and Mars Scout Program Scientist in the Mars Exploration Program at NASA Headquarters. He was appointed co-chair of NASA’s Mars Exploration Program Science Analysis Group and was co-editor of the book “The Human Mission to Mars: Colonizing the Red Planet.” He was honored as a Virginia Outstanding Scientist in 1987 and received a 2010 Presidential Award from the National Alliance of Black School Educators for developing a TV series on atmospheric and planetary sciences. In 2017, Levine was installed as the youngest member of the NASA Hall of Honor for his research on the origin and evolution of the atmospheres of Earth and Mars and his numerous contributions to the United States program of the exploration of Mars.


NASA Astronaut Kathryn “Kay” Hire - “Latest Research and Technologies Preparing Humans for a Journey to Mars”

NASA Astronaut Kathryn “Kay” Hire was commissioned as a Naval Officer in 1981 and earned her Naval Flight Officer Wings in 1982. In 1989, she left full time naval ranks and began parallel but separate civilian and military careers as a Space Shuttle Engineer and as a Navy Reserve Officer. In 1993, Hire became the first female in the U.S. military to be assigned to a combat aircrew. She began her NASA career at the Kennedy Space Center in 1989 and processed Space Shuttles from landing, ground preparations and launch countdowns for over 40 missions. Her Astronaut training began at the Johnson Space Center in 1995 and she flew on two Space Shuttle missions STS-90 (1998) and STS-130 (2010). On STS-90, Hire was the flight engineer during the 16-day Spacelab flight. The crew orbited the Earth 256 times, and covered 6.3 million miles. As Mission Specialist 1 on Space Shuttle Endeavour (STS-130), Hire and crew traveled over 5.7 million miles and completed 217 orbits of the earth. NASA Astronaut Hire has logged 711 hours in space.


Pat Troutman - “A Blueprint for Human Habitation for Mars”

Pat Troutman graduated in 1984 from the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University with a BS in Aerospace & Oceanographic Engineering and a minor in Computer Science. He has worked for NASA Langley Research Center as a contractor and a civil servant developing and utilizing analyses capabilities in support of space system studies, leading space station redesign and risk mitigation studies, and managing the NASA Revolutionary Aerospace Systems Concepts (RASC) program. During the NASA Constellation program, he developed lunar surface exploration architectures that became the basis of the International Space Exploration Coordination Group (ISECG) lunar exploration architecture. Mr. Troutman currently serves as the lead for human exploration architecture integration for the NASA Human Spaceflight Architecture Team (HAT) and as the human exploration strategic analysis lead at Langley.


Dissecting Science: Getting to Mars Q & A Session


PBS LearningMedia Resources
Living and Working in Space
The International Space Station
Science in Space
History of Human Spaceflight
NASA Missions and Milestones in Space Flight | Photo Collection