Press Release

Challenger Center Live Comet Webcast

By SpaceRef Editor
January 10, 2011
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Challenger Center Live Comet Webcast

Comet Mysteries Revealed: A tale of two spacecraft, three comets, and four missions!

Join Challenger Center for Space Science Education for a live interactive webcast on Thursday, January 20th at 1:00pm (Eastern Time) for a live interactive webcast with Dr. Lori Feaga, planetary scientist, and John Ristvey, NASA Educator for NASA’s EPOXI and Stardust-NExT comet missions. Learn about two exciting NASA Discovery Program missions encountering comets, two of which are arriving at their spectacular destinations this winter!

The Podcast can be viewed at

For EPOXI, the Deep Impact spacecraft was re-purposed to flyby Comet Hartley 2 this November. The presenters will review some exciting imagery and science from this mission and preview the upcoming Stardust-NExT mission set to flyby Comet Tempel 1 on February 14, 2011. Participants will experience hands-on educational activities provided by the education and public outreach team from Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning (McREL).

Co-presenter Dr. Lori Feaga from the University of Maryland is a planetary scientist with a background in spectroscopy. As a graduate student, she studied UV spectra of Io to determine the composition and distribution of Io’s tenuous atmosphere. More recently, she was a science team member of the Deep Impact mission to comet Tempel 1, using the IR spectrometer to study the abundance, distribution, and production rate of molecules in the coma and ejecta of a Jupiter family comet. From the Deep Impact data, she was able to map the water and carbon dioxide in the innermost coma of Tempel 1. She is also on the EPOXI science team and intends to interpret the spectral data acquired at comet Hartley 2 to compare and contrast Jupiter family comets and shed light on their history in the solar system.

Co-presenter John Ristvey works at Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning (McREL) on NASA’s EPOXI and Stardust-NExT missions. He is currently principal investigator for two National Science Foundation funded projects, including A Nanoleap into New Science creating activities for high school students about nanoscale science and technology. A former science teacher, Mr. Ristvey has also helped NASA to develop many K-12 instructional materials.

About The Challenger Center for Space Science Education

Using space exploration as a theme and simulations as a vehicle, the Challenger Center for Space Science Education and its international network of 48 Challenger Learning Centers create positive educational experiences that raise students’ expectations of success, fosters a long-term interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), and inspires students to pursue studies and careers in these areas. Challenger Center’s network of Challenger Learning Centers across the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and South Korea reach more than 300,000 students each year through simulated space missions and educational programs, and engage over 40,000 educators through missions, teacher workshops and other programs. To learn more about Challenger Center for Space Science Education, visit

Angie Tenne
Challenger Center for Space Science Education
300 N. Lee Street, Suite 301, Alexandria, VA 22314

SpaceRef staff editor.