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1st Annual Lecture Series

Victor Valley College Lecture Series logo

New Horizons - The First Mission to Pluto

April 30, 2015

View the original Calendar Event here
Dr. Mark Showalter
SETI Institute
New Horizons Mission to Pluto Team Member

Read the Daily Press Article regarding this event here


Dr. Mark Showalter gave his lecture at Victor Valley College's Performing Arts Center on NASA's New Horizons mission to PlutoThe first presentation in Victor Valley College's Lecture Series will mark "the coming of age" of the Victor Valley into worldwide recognition of the region's dedication to ongoing research in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM).

Young students in this region will therefore, through the Lecture Series, participate in celebrating the possibilities of educational and career goals through the STEM Division at Victor Valley College, by embracing their area's unique contribution to exploration and discovery!

The "High Desert" is the region of Goldstone, one of NASA's Deep Space Network (DSN) Antenna Arrays. The antennas at Goldstone are used to uplink spacecraft commands to the most celebrated space exploration missions of NASA's unmanned planetary exploration program, and downlink the spacecraft data that has rewritten the textbooks of human understanding of our solar system.

Dr. Mark Showalter with VVC Students, Dean of STEM, Dr. Hamid Eydgahi, Professor of Physics, Michael Butros, and VVC STEM Scholar Students
Dr. Mark Showalter (center) with Michael Gatewood, President of Alpha Phi Gamma Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa (immediately to the left of Dr. Showalter), VVC STEM Scholar Students, Dean of STEM, Dr. Hamid Eydgahi (2nd from left), and Professor of Physics, Michael Butros (far left).

This region is the home of The Lewis Center for Educational Research and their K-12 charter school the Academy for Academic Excellence. Students throughout the nation can command dedicated Goldstone state-of-the-art radio telescopes through their Goldstone Apple Valley Radio Telescope project (GAVRT), and the Lewis Center's deep ties to several NASA space exploration projects, and space scientists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

The region is also the home of Victor Valley College's Planetarium, the Lewis Center's Luz Observatory, and the High Desert Astronomical Society. STEM instructors at Victor Valley College provide the gateway to student success through exceptional instruction in computer technology and programming, biology, chemistry, mathematics, and the physical sciences. Students in the region's schools find this pathway to their education and career goals at Victor Valley College through the K16 Bridge Program. Victor Valley College physical sciences department is also the student gateway to a Jet Propulsion Laboratory internship program.

There is no better way to highlight this legacy to the region's students, than to bring the scientists who are currently participating in research that is changing our understanding of the universe around us directly to them! The STEM Division's Lecture Series will do just this by targeting the interest, the dreams and aspirations specifically of the regions' families. The Lecture Series is designed to make the nation's highest ongoing accomplishments in research, become part of parents' dialogue with their children in their homes. Beginning in students' homes and reinforced by the region's schools, families, educators, members of the public, may use the lecture series to aid students in garnering an understanding of the spectrum of opportunities available to them in the sciences.

Acclaimed Space Scientist Dr. Mark Showalter of the SETI Institute and a team member of the New Horizons Mission to Pluto, as well as Dr. Alan Stern of the Southwest Research Institute, Principal Investigator of the New Horizons Mission to Pluto, understand this goal of Victor Valley College's STEM Department through the lecture series. That is why Dr. Mark Showalter will for only the second time in California address an audience of members of the public at a college venue. What better topic to bring to the Victor Valley and surrounding regions than humanity's first exploration of the most beloved planet of all time!

Pluto was discovered in 1930, 85 years ago by Clyde Tombaugh at the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona. Ever since its discovery, generations after generation of the world's children have fallen in love with the little planet. At long last the People of Earth are sending a spacecraft ambassador for "children" of all ages to visit Pluto. Pluto will also "welcome" them to a distant, mysterious, never before explored region of our solar system

As Dr. Mark Showalter brings the challenges and anticipated excitement of humanity's first mission to Pluto to the audience, 20 students who have received STEM scholarships through a grant from Southern California Edison to Victor Valley College's STEM Division will also be honored. Each scholarship recipient will then be personally congratulated by Dr. Showalter, who has made major discoveries of planetary moons in our solar system! Through the 1st in this Lecture Series, not only will be public be brought along to the upcoming New Horizons' encounter with Pluto, but this rare opportunity for the public will serve to grasp the hands of aspiring young students as they reach toward achievement in our nation's future accomplishments in science.


Last Updated 5/6/18