Bay Weekly Calendar
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2021 Virtual Planet Walk
May 8 @ 10:00 am - 9:00 pmFREE
On Saturday May 8, 2021, the Friends of Anne Arundel County Trails, NASA’S Goddard Space Flight Center and the Anne Arundel Community College Astronomy Club have teamed up to offer a free, virtual program focused on our solar system. Typically held along the Planet Walk on the B&A Trail and at the Arnold campus of Anne Arundel Community College, the current COVID-19 restrictions preclude such in-person events. As a virtual alternative, this year’s Planet Walk daytime program features information about the individual planets of the solar system, while the evening event includes an illustrated program on one aspect of the current missions to Mars, followed by audience discussion.
The daytime event will be held from 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM EDT on Saturday, May 8. Planetary scientists and engineers from NASA’S Goddard Space Flight Center, other research institutions and local astronomers will use separate Zoom breakout rooms to discuss the Sun, the eight planets and Pluto. Each will present information and news about their planetary body, while participants will be able to chat directly with presenters to ask questions and gain insights. The format will allow you to pop in and out of each of the rooms at your own pace.
Also, from 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM, Dr. Erin Lalime, a Planetary Protection Engineer at NASA”s Goddard Space Flight Center, will discuss ” Planetary Protection: Why the Search for Life on Mars Means We Care about the Squishy, Smelly and Slimy Stuff Here on Earth”. She will outline the thorough protocols adopted by NASA to ensure that our exploration of bodies in space does not result in the unintentional introduction of materials which could harm existing organisms here on Earth. At the conclusion of her presentation, she will be joined by Dr. Denny Glavin and Dr. Maeva Millan, both NASA astro biologists and Dr. Veronica Pinnick, a NASA scientist and engineer, to offer an Astro Cafe, where participants will be able to ask questions of each panelist.
In order to gain access to these free 2021 Virtual Planet Walk Zoom programs, it will be necessary to preregister. You may register for both programs at the following address:
Registrants will receive a confirmation email with the Zoom connection information. Additional insights about the program and biographies of the evening presenters may be found on the Eventbrite site.
While Anne Arundel County trails are unable to host group events at this time, the 4.7 mile long Planet Walk is still in place for individuals to explore. The Sun station, featuring a twenty-five foot sculpture of the Sun, is located just south of Aquahart Road in Glen Burnie and marks the beginning of the Planet Walk. Smaller stainless steel monuments mark the relative distances of each planet from the Sun. The Planet Walk ends at Earleigh Heights Road in Severna Park with another large sculpture representing Pluto and the Outer Planets.
Please take the time to enjoy the Planet Walk as you traverse the B&A Trail by bicycle or on foot and plan to join us on Saturday, May 8 for the 2021 Virtual Planet Walk events in a whole new format!
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