By Beth Mack
November 1, 2021
If you never made it to the elusive space camp as a kid, here’s your chance. You can grab a front-row seat to National Geographic Live: Exploring Mars, the first of three installments of National Geographic Live events presented by Blumenthal Performing Arts.
Exploring Mars provides an out-of-this-world experience by diving into NASA’s Mars Exploration Program with engaging insights and commentary from real-life rocket scientist, Kobie Boykins, the principal engineer for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).
On November 4 at the Knight Theater, Boykins will share his expert insights on the next frontier with NASA’s Mars Exploration Program and its most recent discoveries. It’ll complement real footage from various rover launches from Earth and animations of the rovers travels through space to their landing on Mars. Once on Mars, they explore everything from terrain, weather, and geology using various sensors, specially designed instruments, photos, and videos to provide scientists with more information and insights into the red planet. One of the key discoveries made through information provided by the rovers has led scientists to confirm that there was once water on Mars.
Boykins has had a profound influence on NASA’s Mars Exploration Program. In his over 25 years of experience at NASA’s JPL, Boykins has been involved in all five Mars exploration rovers. Most notably, Boykins and his team designed the solar array systems for Mars Exploration Rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, allowing the rovers to use solar energy to recharge their batteries and blow past their 90-day life expectancy to last for six years and 14 plus years, respectively. More recently, Boykins led the remote sensing and mobility teams for the Curiosity Mars rover. His contributions to NASA and JPL were recognized in 2013 when he was awarded NASA’s highest honors, the NASA Exceptional Service Medal.
If this piques your curiosity, mark your calendar for the other two installments of the National Geographic Live series. On January 11, join renowned wildlife photographer and cinematographer Shannon Wild in Pursuit of the Black Panther as she shares her experience tracking the elusive black panther in India. The last in the series, Improbable Ascent, features National Geographic’s 2019 Adventurer of the year, para climber Maureen Beck on April 5.
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