6:30 p.m. Free planetarium show: Cosmic Collisions and educational activities
7:30 p.m. Meet the Lecturer
8:00 p.m. Lecture
9:00 p.m. Telescope viewing, weather permitting
Until recently, Mercury was the least explored of the terrestrial planets, visited only by Mariner 10 in the 1970s. MESSENGER flybys in 2008 and 2009 revealed terrain seen by spacecraft for the very first time. In March 2011, as MESSENGER goes into orbit, it will open a new era of comprehensive observation and study of the innermost planet, and continue to contribute to our understanding of the nature of Mercury and why it is different from its planetary neighbors. See Mercury in a new light as Sean Solomon guides us through the latest images and results.
Sean C. Solomon is the Principal Investigator for the MESSENGER mission and the Director of the Department of Terrestrial Magnetism at the Carnegie Institution of Washington.