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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Students plan for national space club

Marcia Rieke, an Astronomy Professor at the University of Arizona, shows some of the plans for the James Web Space Telescope and the clean room lab where the light sensors for the telescope are tested at nearly negative 240 degrees Centigrade. Reike will be speaking at about the telescope during SpaceVision 2009, the largest fully student-run space conference in the nation.
Marcia Rieke, an Astronomy Professor at the University of Arizona, shows some of the plans for the James Web Space Telescope and the ‘clean room’ lab where the light sensors for the telescope are tested at nearly negative 240 degrees Centigrade. Reike will be speaking at about the telescope during SpaceVision 2009, the largest fully student-run space conference in the nation.

SpaceVision 2009, the largest fully student-run space conference in the nation, will take place at the UA, Nov. 12-15.

The UA chapter of the Students for the Exploration and Development of Space club submitted a bid to host the conference at last years conference at Texas A&M, said Joshua Nelson, chairman of the club’s national organization and a recent UA aerospace engineering graduate.

“”It’s our organization’s national conference so each chapter voted and we got elected,”” Nelson said.

Planning for the event began immediately and 60-member space club is prepared for this weekend, Nelson said.

“”We want the public to understand that there’s more to space than NASA,”” said Kyle Stephens, president of the UA’s club and conference organizer.

Organizers say they expect close to 200 people to attend the event and are on track to get that number.

About half of the expected attendees are from out of state, and the others will be not only UA affiliates but also surrounding members of the Tucson community.

Of the 24 speakers at the conference there are four UA employees scheduled to lecture.

Marcia Rieke, a UA astronomy professor, will be speaking on her latest NASA-affiliated project, the James Webb Space Telescope Near Infrared Camera. Rieke is the principle investigator on the project and is “”leading a project here to build one of the cameras that will be part of that space telescope,”” she said.

The project has been underway since 2002 and Rieke said she is excited to talk about it at her first SpaceVision conference.

“”It’s been slow going but I’m often asked to talk about this project,”” Rieke said. “”We’re now into the full construction phase some days things go great, other days someone drops the screwdriver. But it’s moving right along.””

A notable speaker not affiliated with the UA is Mark Kelly, a NASA astronaut and husband of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.

“”We wanted to bring an astronaut to this conference and get one that actually has something to do with Tucson,”” Nelson said.

The Students for the Exploration and Development of Space club has built its own telescope this year and will use it during the conference. The 8-foot telescope uses an 18-inch mirror, which was donated by the Steward Observatory Mirror Lab, and is the second largest telescope on campus, Nelson said.

The Steward Observatory uses a 21-inch mirror on their telescope, but the club is proud of theirs because it is portable, Nelson said.

“”We’re having a star party Friday night and we’ll be bringing our telescope,”” Nelson said.

Rieke is hoping for greater attention for the UA from the Tucson community.

“”Working on space projects can be a lot of fun and I would like more of the folks around here to understand what folks at the UA are doing,”” Rieke said. “”It would be great if everyone knew about all this good stuff.””

Notable Speakers:

Roger Angel, director for the Steward Observatory Mirror Lab and UA astronomy professor

Lynn Cline, NASA’s deputy associate administrator for space operations

Richard Garriott, who in October 2008 became the sixth private citizen to travel in space

Gabrielle Giffords, U.S. Congresswoman for Arizona’s 8th District, chair of the Space and Aeronautics Subcommittee

Mark Kelly, NASA astronaut and Gabrielle Giffords’ husband

Richard Leis, HiRISE operations specialist, and geosciences senior at the UA

Chris Lewicki, a UA alumnus, previous flight director for NASA’s Mars rovers “”Spirit”” and “”Opportunity”” and surface mission manager for the Phoenix Mars Lander

Marcia Rieke, principle investigator for the James Webb Space Telescope Near Infrared Camera for NASA, and UA astronomy professor

For a full schedule of speakers go to spacevision.seds.org/agenda.php

If you go:

What: “”SpaceVision”” space research conference

Who: Hosted by Students for the Exploration and Development of Space club, open to public

Where: Gerard P. Kuiper Space Sciences building and other locations on campus

When: Nov. 12, 3 p.m. to 10 p.m.; Nov. 13, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Nov. 14, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Nov. 15, 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

How Much: $90 for general public, $30 for students, $70 for members of SEDS affiliates (the National Space Society, the American Astronomical Society and Space Frontier Foundation).

RSVP: SpaceVision Web site (spacevision.seds.org/register.php) until Nov. 11, Kuiper Space Sciences Building conference registration desk Nov 12, 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., Nov. 13 15 8 a.m. to 9 a.m.

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