SMC’s Drescher Planetarium Continues Free Live Virtual Shows

The John Drescher Planetarium at Santa Monica College continues its Friday night events in June 2022 with free live virtual shows presented online at smc.edu/planetarium. This month’s user-friendly presentations will explore the “NASA’s Eyes” website, present the latest information on the commercial human spaceflight program, take a look at the new Peregrine lunar probe, and offer an update on the spatialship.

Friday night shows take place at 8 p.m. and are preceded by a simplified virtual summary of the popular Night Sky Show at 7 p.m., offering the latest news in astronomy and space exploration. Shows include the opportunity to chat with planetarium speakers and ask questions.

Planetarium speakers are currently using the Zoom platform to present shows while the on-campus planetarium remains closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. To watch the shows, the Zoom software must be installed on the viewer’s computer. A free download is available at zoom.com.

The June 2022 shows are:

• Friday 3 June, at 8 pm (after The Night Sky Show at 7 pm): Solar System Survey with “NASA’s Eyes” — Associate Lecturer Sarah Vincent. “NASA’s eyes are on you.” The show explores the “NASA’s Eyes” website – a network to see spacecraft, a network to collect science and guide them through the dark, and a network to run them all – powered by the Deep Space Network and providing a real time look at the major missions around the solar system. Free. Zoom to smc.edu/planetarium.

• Friday, June 10, 8 p.m. (after The Night Sky Show at 7 p.m.): Commercial Human Spaceflight Update — Lecturer Jim Mahon. With NASA soliciting studies for commercial successors to the International Space Station and privately-booked missions already flying vehicles like the SpaceX Crew Dragon, the United States has entered a new era of human spaceflight. The show will survey this dynamic landscape. Free. Zoom to smc.edu/planetarium.

• Friday, June 17 at 8 p.m. (after The Night Sky Show at 7 p.m.): Peregrine: A new lunar lander from a new program on a new booster — Lecturer Jim Mahon. The Astrobotics Peregrine 1 is the first of the lunar probes flown under NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) program. With plans for a mid-year launch to the lunar surface on the maiden flight of the new Vulcan booster, CLPS flights are designed to prepare for the human lunar return as part of NASA’s Artemis program. The show will look at this mission to Earth’s closest neighbor. Free. Zoom to smc.edu/planetarium.

• Friday, June 24 at 8 p.m. (after The Night Sky Show at 7 p.m.): Starship Status — Lecturer Jim Mahon. SpaceX’s large Starship system aims to be a general-purpose launch vehicle and solar system exploration vessel, with a rapid and spectacular development history mixing crashing prototypes with spectacular test flight successes. Starship is essential to NASA’s Artemis program human lunar landing plans, with a lunar version of Starship planned to carry the first crew to the surface as early as Artemis 3 in 2025-2026. Show will review the status of this crucial business project. Free. Zoom to smc.edu/planetarium.

More information is available online at smc.edu/planetarium or by calling 310-434-3005. All shows are subject to change or cancellation without notice.

Santa Monica College is a community college in California accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).

Submitted by Grace Smith

Arline J. Mercier