[ASC-media] Media release: 50th Anniversary of Space Celebrations at the Powerhouse Museum

Van Tiel, Michael Michaelv at PHM.GOV.AU
Mon Sep 24 02:54:52 CEST 2007

50th Anniversary of Space Celebrations at the Powerhouse Museum

Fifty years ago, the former-Soviet Union stunned the world by launching
the first artificial satellite, Sputnik-1 on October 4, 1957. The Space
Age had begun! Driven at first by the Cold War Space Race, advances in
space technology have made science fiction reality and changed our world
in many ways: we've seen astronauts in orbit around the Earth, on the
Moon and working for extended periods in space stations; robotic probes
and space telescopes have revolutionised out knowledge of the Solar
System and the universe around us; satellite networks for applications
ranging from communication and weather observation to navigation and
military surveillance have become so seamlessly integrated into our
everyday lives that we often don't even realise that space technology
plays a part in them. 

Join us during World Space Week as the Powerhouse Museum and Sydney
Observatory celebrates the 50th anniversary of spaceflight with a
program of talks and activities. And be sure to visit the museum's
Space-beyond this world exhibition before it closes on October 14 for


All the talks taking place at the Museum are free with Museum admission.

Australia in Space
6 October, 1.30pm  
Prof. Iver Cairns, Research Professor in Space Physics, University of
What has Australia done in space, what is it doing now, and what should
it do? This talk will sketch the early history (Australia was the fourth
nation to launch it own satellite) and then describe highlights of
today's Australian space science, ranging from space weather to dating
the solar system, Antarctic research, and spacecraft propulsion. It will
also discuss the future of  Australian space science, and the importance
of space for us and our children.

The Drake Equation: a modern review
6 October, 3.30pm  
Wilson da Silva, Editor-in-Chief, Cosmos Magazine   
The Drake Equation is an attempt to determine - as best as science can -
the number of extraterrestrial civilisations in our galaxy today. It was
first postulated in 1961; since then, a wealth of new scientific data
has allowed us a better understanding of many of its elements, getting
us closer to an answer. This review updates the equation and proposes an
upper and lower limit for its estimates.

Blast Off: adventures from the dawn of the Space Age to the present  
7 October, 2.00pm  
Dr. Ken McCracken, Research Fellow, University of Maryland     
Australia Prize-winning physicist Dr. Ken McCracken talks about his
adventures as a scientific researcher from the beginning of the Space
Age. His fascinating and varied career has encompassed several different
fields of space research: from cosmic ray research to x-ray astronomy,
building scientific instruments for satellites to pioneering mineral
exploration by remote sensing in Australia. Dr. McCracken has worked on
Australian and international space projects and continues his studies of
the Sun and interplanetary space using ice cores obtained in Greenland
and Antarctica. Join us for this insight into an exciting Space Age

50th Years of Spaceflight: the highlights
10 October, 12.30pm  
Kerrie Dougherty, Curator, Space Technology, Powerhouse Museum 
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of spaceflight, Kerrie Dougherty, will
present an overview of 50 years of achievements in space exploration and
utilisation. From the launch of the world's first satellite, Sputnik 1,
in 1957, to the construction of the International Space Station in 2007,
from exploring the Moon and planets to peering into the farthest reaches
of the universe with space telescopes, this talk will highlight the
exciting and significant space achievements that have turned science
fiction into reality!

The Spitzer Space Telescope
14 October, 3.30pm   
Robert K. Wilson, the Spitzer Project Manager, Charles P. Scott, the
Mission Manager, Stuart R. Spath, the Observatory Engineering Manager
and Dr. Harry Teplitz, a research Scientist from the Spitzer Program.
The Spitzer Space Telescope, the fourth and last of NASA's Great
Observatories, has been exploring the universe at Infra-red wavelengths
since late 2003. The first mission to carry out astronomical
observations from a solar orbit, Spitzer utilizes three state of the art
detector arrays providing imaging, photometry, and spectroscopy over the
3-160 micron wavelength range. The telescope is achieving major advances
in the study of astrophysical phenomena from our solar system to the
edge of the Universe and has demonstrated technologies that are critical
to future observatory missions. The presentation will look at how the
Spitzer Space Telescope carries out its observation program, why
infra-red observations are so important and the latest science results
from research carried out with Spitzer. 

For Families:

Powerhouse Museum
4 October 2007, 10am - 4pm
At the Museum we have our very own replica of Sputnik hanging from the
roof in the Space exhibition! In the exhibition you find out all about
exploring space! There will be children's tours and activities in the
exhibition including dressups and readings from the all time favourite
children's book "The Little Prince". 
Free with Museum admission.

Sydney Observatory
4 October 2007, 10.30am - 2.00pm
You'll have stars in your eyes when you gaze through our telescopes.
Other out-of-this-world activities include an exclusive visit to our
planetarium, edge-of-your-seat viewing in the 3-D Theatre, and an
opportunity to have your face painted like the famous satellite.  Make a
model of Sputnik.  Dress up as a cosmonaut and have mum or dad take your
picture.  Get a passport, and have it stamped at each activity. 
Cost: $12 per child and bookings essential on (02) 9921 3485

Surfing the Solar System with Lucy Hawking - the young person's guide to
the universe
Sunday 14 October
2.00 - 3.00pm 
Lucy Hawking has collaborated with her world-famous father, Professor
Stephen Hawking, to produce his first ever children's book, George's
Secret Key to the Universe - an adventure story crammed full of
astonishing facts about the origin of the universe, time and space,
black holes and much more.  Lucy will talk about working with her father
on the book as well as providing an informative and entertaining look at
what is - and isn't - out there! Free with Museum entry

Powerhouse Museum
500 Harris Street Darling Harbour, Sydney
Telephone (02) 92170111 Infoline (02) 92170444

Media information, images or interviews:
Angela Kenna, Publicist, Powerhouse Museum
Tel: 9217 0112  Email:
angelak at phm.gov.au

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