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Santa Monica College Planetarium Explores NASA's Return to the Moon
 

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Santa Monica College
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By Lookout Staff

February 3, 2020 -- Santa Monica College's John Drescher Planetarium on Friday will explore the Trump administration's plans to return a crew to the lunar surface by 2024.

“Project Artemis: NASA’s Return to the Moon” will focus on Artemis 3, the third flight of the SLS/Orion system, the show's organizers said.

Rendering of the Space Launch System
Rendering of the Space Launch System (Courtesy NASA)

"The show will cover the mission architecture and rationale, and the work that must be done to accomplish everything in a short time frame," organizers said.

The crew, which will include the first woman and the next man to land on the moon, comes more than half a century after Apollo 17 made the last manned lunar landing on December 11, 1972.

"NASA’s powerful new rocket, the Space Launch System (SLS), will send astronauts aboard the Orion spacecraft nearly a quarter million miles from Earth to lunar orbit," the agency said on its website.

"Astronauts will dock Orion at the Gateway and transfer to a human landing system for expeditions to the surface of the Moon," NASA officials said.

The mission will use "innovative new technologies and systems to explore more of the Moon than ever before," the agency said.

The crew would then return to the orbital outpost to board Orion again before returning safely to Earth.

NASA will collaborate with its commercial and international partners to establish sustainable missions by 2028, then use the knowledge gathered "to take the next giant leap -– sending astronauts to Mars," officials said.

This month's planetarium offerings also include “2020: Space Exploration Preview” on February 21 and 28.

The show provides "an overview of the coming year’s multiple missions setting out for Mars, the samples taken from asteroids (and) a new solar probe launch," event organizers said.

The show also looks at "the first lunar sample return mission since the 1970s, and the first crewed flights of two American commercial crew taxis for the International Space Station."

Apollo 17 Lunar Rover vehicle
Apollo 17 Lunar Rover vehicle (Courtesy NASA)

The feature shows and a telescope viewing session take place at 8 p.m. and are preceded at 7 p.m. by “The Night Sky Show,” which offers "the latest news in astronomy and space exploration, a family-friendly 'tour' of the constellations and answers to astronomy-related questions.

The John Drescher Planetarium, which features a Digistar projection system, is located near the elevators on the second floor of Drescher Hall, 1900 Pico Boulevard.

Tickets are available at the door and cost $11 ($9 seniors and children) for the evening’s scheduled “double bill," or $6 ($5 seniors age 60 and older and children age 12 and under) for a single show or telescope-viewing session.

For more information call (310) 434-3005 or visit smc.edu/planetarium. All shows are subject to change or cancellation without notice.


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