BCC hosts monthly space lecture series

COCOA — Living on the Space Coast has its advantages. Brevard Community College Space and Astronomy Department on the Cocoa campus is sponsoring a monthly lecture series that will feature local experts in the field.
The free lectures will be offered at 7 p.m. Friday and Oct. 9 and Nov. 13. Following the speakers, there will be a public viewing session at the BCC Observatory atop the planetarium building.

“I created the lecture series because education is going through cuts in budget, and this is a way to reinject educational events for free to the community,” said Fiorella Terenzi, program coordinator and a BCC physics instructor.

During Friday’s lecture, attendees will hear the latest information about the next human space flight to the moon and Mars. The panel discussion will feature Robert Cabana, director of NASA’s Kennedy Space Center; Russell Romanella, director of the International Space Station and Spacecraft Processing Directorate; and Jon Cowart, orbiter engineering manager for the NASA Kennedy Space Center Constellation Program.

Cabana has flown four space shuttle missions serving as pilot and commander during the flights. He also has also served as deputy chief Aircraft Operations Division; chief, NASA Astronaut Office; and has worked in International Relations for the International Space Station Program and the NASA Human Space Flight Program in Russia, among others.

Romanella is responsible for launch site ground processing of the International Space Station and Shuttle Payloads. Romanella also is responsible for preparing the Kennedy Space Center for final assembly of the future human space launch vehicle, the Orion crew exploration vehicle.

Cowart has served as senior project manager responsible for all modifications to the launch pad, vehicle assembly building and the mobile launch platform for the Ares I-X flight test.

“Our free lecture series will be of service for our community and will offer those with an interest in space, aerospace and astronomy the chance to explore the latest research and innovations in the field as we probe further into the universe,” Terenzi said. “The purpose of the lecture series is to inspire potential future students and their families to pursue careers in math, science and engineering, to connect with our local community, to create a feed, an open line with our space coast industry and to increase awareness and appreciation for space, aerospace and astronomy and education as a whole.”

During the event, Terenzi and Mark Howard, director of the BCC Planetarium, will speak about “What’s New in the Night Sky,” a focus on what viewers can see in the sky with the naked eye.

The Oct. 9 lecture will feature “What Lurks in the Hearts of the Galaxies?” featuring Dr. Eric Perlman, associate professor of physics and space sciences at Florida Institute of Technology.

The Nov. 13 lecture will feature “Small Bodies and Big Impacts: Asteroids, Comets and the Origin of Earth’s Water,” featuring Dr. Humberto Campins, professor of physics at the University of Central Florida.

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