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Space Exploration Subject of Santa Monica College Planetarium Series
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By Jorge Casuso

March 17, 2016 -- Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and PayPal co-founder Elon Musk share more than a zeal for making billions on the internet. Both are betting a chuck of their fortunes on personally exploring space.

They are at the forefront of private investment on space exploration that will be the topic of two talks at the Santa Monica College John Drescher Planetarium next month.

April's feature shows will "focus on the players, the new missions and the latest developments in space exploration," Planetarium officials announced Wednesday.

The series launches on April 1 and 8 with “New Space Update,” which will offer a look at "the players in one of the most fascinating developments of the past decade -- the emergence of new companies seeking to create seismic changes in an industry long based on government-dominated spaceflight," officials said.

Both Bezos and Musk have chosen Texas to launch their space enterprises. But the internet billionaires have picked paths towards their common goal as different as their internet philosophies.

Amazon's founder has occluded his Blue Origin enterprise under a cloak of secrecy reminiscent of the Air Force's Area 51 experiments in the Nevada desert, while Musk has made his SpaceX venture, which has contracted with NASA, highly visible.

The two internet entrepreneurs aren't alone in pursuing their lofty goals, and Santa Monica College planetarium will provide a look at those who already are embarked on unearthly missions of their own.

On April 22 and 29, the planetarium will present "Solar System Exploration Update,” which will provide the latest on "the new Mars missions planned by Europe, a failure-to-launch by NASA, the arrival of a new orbiter at Jupiter and the launch of an asteroid sample return mission," as well as other highlights of space exploration, officials said.

The evening events are at 8 p.m. and are preceded by “The Night Sky Show” at 7 p.m., offering the latest news in astronomy and space exploration, a family-friendly “tour” of the constellations and the chance to ask astronomy-related questions.

The John Drescher Planetarium features a Digistar projection system and is located near the elevators on the second floor of Drescher Hall (1900 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica).

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 children age 12 and under) for a single Night Sky or feature show or telescope-viewing session.

For information, call (310) 434-3005 or see or All shows subject to change or cancellation without notice.

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