Space Exploration to be Focus of The Masters Series at Pasadena Senior Center

Published : Wednesday, September 18, 2019 | 1:46 PM

From Top counterclockwise: Theo Clark, Scott Bryant, John Semper, Varoujan Gorjian, Devon Griffiths. Not pictured: Tracy Drain

The fall term of The Masters Series at the Pasadena Senior Center, 85 E. Holly St., is scheduled Tuesdays, Oct. 1 to Nov. 19, from 2 to 4 p.m.

Humans have always been curious about the cosmos. Stories and legends have been told, observatories have been constructed, art has been created, manned spaceships and unmanned spacecraft have been built and theories have abounded regarding the meaning, uses and ownership of space.

The fall Masters Series, which embraces and promotes lifelong learning, will provide eight weeks of presentations and discussions highlighting different aspects of human understanding of space.

The series is open to members of the Pasadena Senior Center. Non-members 50 and older can try the series by attending their first talk free of charge.

Individual talks are $15 each, or register for the full eight-week term for $105.

• Oct. 1: The Special Place of Pasadena in the History of Astronomy and Space ExplorationVaroujan Gorjian, Spitzer research scientist at Jet Propulsion Laboratory, will recount Galileo’s first use of the telescope for astronomy that led centuries later to innovations in Pasadena that have made this city one of the primary centers for space research.

• Oct. 8: Juno, a New Renaissance – Theo Clarke, adjunct assistant professor of physics at Pasadena City College and a consultant on NASA’s Juno project, will discuss how the Juno mission has inspired, facilitated and embodied a broad spectrum of human creativity and public engagement.

• Oct. 15: JPL’s Deep Space Network: Getting Pictures from Mars Back to Earth – Scott Bryant, senior staff member at JPL, will explain how we can talk across the solar system using the deep space network, NASA/JPL’s international array of giant radio antennas, and a few antennas that orbit Earth, that support interplanetary spacecraft missions. From NASA’s first Explorer spacecraft to the latest Mars mission, data and pictures from deep space have come back to Earth through JPL’s DSN.

• Oct 22 – To be announced.

• Oct. 29 – To be announced.

• Nov. 5: Psyche: Mission to a Metal World – Tracy Drain, deputy project system engineer and a key part of mission operations at JPL, will make a presentation about the mission that will visit the giant metal asteroid Psyche, large enough to span from Los Angeles to Tijuana and possibly the now-exposed core of a developing protoplanet.

• Nov. 12: The Victorian Age and Debates About Extraterrestrial Life – Devin Griffiths, associate professor of English at USC, will explain how the expanding understanding of science informed Victorian-era debates about the existence of life on other planets.

• Nov. 19: Outer Space at the Movies – John Semper, a writer/producer whose credits include feature films, television, animation and comic books, will trace the history of space in movies, from silent films to modern blockbusters, and how they have influenced his own projects.

To register, visit and click on Events, then Event Online Registration or call (626) 795-4331. For more information or to be placed on the mailing list, email or call (626) 685-6756.

Founded in 1960, the Pasadena Senior Center is an independent, donor-supported nonprofit agency that offers recreational, educational, wellness and social services to people ages 50 and older in a welcoming environment. Services are also provided for frail, low-income and homebound seniors.






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