Press Release

Challenger Center Live Webcast about Comets and Asteroids

By SpaceRef Editor
November 23, 2009
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Challenger Center Live Webcast about Comets and Asteroids

Alexandria, Virginia – Join Challenger Center for Space Science Education for a live interactive webcast, Thursday December 10th at 3:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time with John Ristvey, Principal Consultant for Education and Public Outreach for NASA’s Dawn, Stardust NExT, and EPOXI missions.

The interactive webcast is free and open to the public, and it will be broadcast live at Ristvey will take questions from participants about three upcoming NASA robotic missions: Dawn, which will study two of the largest asteroids in our solar system; Stardust NExT, which will make a return visit to comet Tempel-1, and EPOXI, which will visit comet Hartley 2. The NASA Dawn mission will visit asteroids Ceres and Vesta located in the asteroid belt to help to understand the conditions at the formation of the solar system and provide data on the role of size and water in the formation of planets.

The Stardust NExT mission is a follow-on mission for the Stardust spacecraft that originally returned a capsule of comet dust samples to Earth from comet Wild-2 in 2006. NASA repurposed the spacecraft to fly by comet Tempel-1 to observe a crater left over from the NASA Deep Impact mission. After completing its mission to comet Tempel-1, the Deep Impact flyby spacecraft has a new mission called EPOXI to fly by comet Hartley 2.

Ristvey works at Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning (McREL) on NASA’s Dawn, 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, Ristvey has also helped NASA to develop many K-12 instructional materials.

Using space exploration as a theme and simulations as a vehicle, Challenger Center and its international network of 47 Challenger Learning Centers create positive educational experiences that raise students’ expectations of success, fosters a long-term interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, and inspires students to pursue studies and careers in these areas. Challenger Center’s network of Challenger Learning Centers across the United States and in Canada, the United Kingdom, and South Korea reach more than 400,000 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

Rita Karl, Director of Education
Challenger Center for Space Science Education
300 N. Lee Street, Suite 301,
Alexandria, VA 22314

SpaceRef staff editor.