4. Exploring the Solar System – Janet Wood




6 weeks, Thursdays, 9:00-11:00, Nov. 4-Dec. 9
For the past five decades, NASA’s planetary science program has been engaged in one of the oldest scientific pursuits: the observation and exploration of our solar system’s planetary objects. This effort has pushed the limits of spacecraft and robotic engineering design and operations, and has advanced the scientific understanding of the solar system in extraordinary ways. To date, NASA spacecraft have visited every planet as well as a variety of small bodies, and some of its current missions are bringing back physical samples from other worlds allowing for meticulous analysis back on Earth. Using stunning images from NASA’s vast photo library, this 6-part, non-technical series will look at each planet in detail and, where possible, compare features on other planets with those on Earth. The role the planets have played in myth, fiction, and popular culture will also be discussed.

Janet Wood is a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador, one of a nationwide network of more than 1100 volunteers coordinated by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. The ambassadors present public programs about NASA’s space exploration missions. Janet became a space science enthusiast after attending The Planetary Society’s “Planetfest” in 1997 which took place in conjunction with the Mars Pathfinder Landing. She became a volunteer for NASA/JPL’s Solar System Ambassador Program in 2002 and has been giving programs to a wide variety of audiences since that time. Her current programs include: Mars, The Continuing Quest, Hidden Wonders in the Night Sky, Mysterious Moons, Exploring the Solar System, and Our Cosmic Connection. She received a  Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Washington in 1973 and a  Master of Science Degree in Geo-science Education from Mississippi State University in 2001. Her special interest is in planetary science.