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HAL Meetings in 2023

HAL General Meetings (Open to the Public)

  • Meetings are currently held virtually via Zoom. Watch for updates!
  • For specific meeting dates, see the HAL Calendar.
  • Additional information is announced via the HowardAstro Google Group.
  • All HAL Meetings (and star parties) are held in locations which are smoke free by law. Help us protect our ability to use these facilities by not smoking.

General Meetings are held from 7:00PM to approximately 9:00 on the 3rd Thursday of every month via Zoom (until further notice).

HAL Planning Meetings (Open to All Members)

Planning Meetings to discuss future club direction, events, meeting topics, outreach, etc. are open to all members. Attendance is encouraged. They are usually held from 7:00 to 8:00PM on the 1st Monday of every month via Zoom (until further notice).

Sometimes these meetings are rescheduled or cancelled due to holidays or board member unavailability. Check our home page, posts to the HowardAstro Google Group, or the HAL calendar.

HAL's Updated COVID-19 Policy for Events

  • For HAL impromptu and member-only star parties, participants should wait for an invitation before approaching to look through others’ telescopes; respect each other’s desires for social distancing.
  • We are following Howard County guidelines such as:
  • Face coverings are encouraged inside the Alpha Ridge HALO building.

2023 General Meeting Topics / Speakers
Jan. 19

Thursday, January 19th, 2023 beginning at 7:00PM

Topic: NOAA'S Joint Polar Satellite System, JPSS-2, the Sequel

Presenter: Ted Leoutsakos, NASA - JPSS Deployed Systems Team Senior Engineer

Artifacts: Presentation PDF | Video Recording on YouTube | Chat Log

Ted Leoutsakos

Back by popular demand! Ted presented to HAL about the first JPSS mission in January 2021. His 2023 presentation will provide details about JPSS-2, the new mission. JPSS-2 successfully lifted off from Vandenberg Space Force Base on Nov. 10, 2022.

The Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS) is the nation's new generation polar-orbiting operational environmental satellite system. JPSS is a collaborative program between the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and its acquisition agent, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). JPSS provides critical environmental satellite data to support NOAA's ongoing mission to understand and predict changes in the weather, oceans and climate.

Ted Leoutsakos has extensive NASA/DOD and commercial experience with broad end-to-end satellite systems engineering knowledge in complex system integration, testing, operations, training, and ground system development with over a dozen missions under his belt. A life-long Star Trek fan, Ted recalls his dad taking him to the library at age 5 to check out his first read entitled "The Book of Rockets", and the rest is history…

Feb 17

Thursday, February 16th, 2023

Topic: Defending Planet Earth: The Double Asteroid Redirection Test

Presenter: Dr. Angela Stickle, DART Impact Modeling Working Group Lead, Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory

Quick Zoom Link. More options on home page.

NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) was the first planetary defense test mission. The DART spacecraft purposefully ran into a small asteroid, Dimorphos, on September 26, 2022, in order to test asteroid deflection. DART was a huge success, changing Dimorphos’s orbital period by around 30 minutes and generating many tons of ejecta. We will discuss planetary defense, the DART mission, initial results from the team and how we are using those results to learn more about Dimorphos, Didymos, and future applications to planetary defense.

Dr. Angela Stickle is a planetary geologist with a background in Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering, and impact processes on planetary surfaces. She specializes in hypervelocity impact processes and dynamic failure of materials. Dr Stickle is currently a senior research scientist at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. She is the Deputy Principal-Investigator for the Mini-RF radar, a Co-I for the LRO-LAMP instrument aboard the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, the impact modeling working group lead for the Double Asteroid Redirection Test mission, and a Co-I on the Dragonfly mission. Her research includes analyzing young impact craters on the Moon to better understand ejecta emplacement processes, impact modeling on asteroids and rocky/icy bodies, planetary defense testing, and working to understand and evaluate available technology for future lunar surface missions. Asteroid 36986 Stickle is named in her honor.

Dr. Angela Stickle
Mar 16

Thursday, March 16th, 2023

Topic: Dragonfly: Flights of Exploration on an Exotic Ocean World

Presenter: Dr. Melissa Trainer, NASA GSFC / Planetary Scientist

(Zoom link will be posted in early March 2023.)

Dr. Melissa Trainer

Titan is the only moon in our solar system with a dense atmosphere, which supports an Earth-like hydrological cycle of methane clouds, rain, lakes, and seas. Complex organic surface materials may preserve, in a deep freeze, the types of organic chemicals that would have been present on Earth before life developed. The Dragonfly mission to Titan will characterize its habitability and determine how far prebiotic chemistry has progressed in environments known to provide the necessary ingredients for life. The mission comprises a single rotorcraft lander with a sophisticated scientific payload, designed to take advantage of Titan's environment and achieve wide-ranging exploration goals by flying to sites in different geologic settings.

Dr. Melissa Trainer is a planetary scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) with expertise in the composition of planetary atmospheres and the production of organic molecules and aerosols via in situ synthesis pathways. Dr. Trainer currently serves as a Deputy Principal Investigator (PI) for the Dragonfly mission to Saturn's moon Titan, part of the NASA Planetary Science New Frontiers Program. She is also the lead for the Dragonfly Mass Spectrometer (DraMS), which enables the investigation of Titan's surface composition and characterization of potential prebiotic chemistry.

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Last modified: February 05, 2023 @ 17:55 EST