Join Space Experts For A Live Chat With National Geographic
March 12, 2014

Join Space Experts For A Live Chat With National Geographic

I just got an email from National Geographic informing me about a live video conversation with space architect Constance Adams, astronaut Piers Sellers and planetary geologist Bethany Ehlmann. They will discuss “our passion for space and what inspires us to keep exploring.”

The live chat will take place on March 20 at 2:30 p.m. ET, which I have just now realized will be at 4:30 p.m. where I am in Japan, but fine! Hopefully it is a better viewing time for most people out there. The chat is going to be done through Google+ Hangout On Air and will provide members of the public with the opportunity to submit their own questions, which may then be put to the experts. This can be done by posting questions below on the relevant National Geographic page or on social media with #LetsExplore.

Space exploration is one of those things in which the vast majority of people with an interest, like myself, are laymen with no direct involvement in the subject. We therefore rely on the information imparted to us by those lucky (and smart) enough to have made a career from space exploration. The National Geographic panel are such people.

Constance Adams is a designer of complex expandable living areas for the International Space Station, and Bethany Ehlmann is at the forefront of Martian exploration. She has studied the red planet’s rocks and even driven the Curiosity rover itself.

National Geographic is very ‘spacey’ (see what I mean about being a layman?) this month, and is worth keeping an eye for anyone interested in the subject. On March 14 at 8 p.m. another broadcast, Live from Space, will be shown in 170 countries. The show will come live from NASA‘s Mission Control in Houston and will also hook up with the International Space Station to offer fascinating insights into an astronaut’s existence and work aboard. National Geographic say that in the show “astronauts will give a tour of their micro-gravity world, while views out the windows reveal Earth from dusk to dawn, showing lightning from overhead, green aurora, city lights, and sunrise itself as you’ve never seen it before.” The focus will be NASA astronaut Rick Mastracchio and Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata, who will take us on a guided tour of the space lab, and show us the less glamorous side of space station life such as trying to keep fit, going to the toilet and maintaining personal hygiene.

And on Sunday, March 9th, astronomer Neil de Grasse Tyson joined National Geographic to host a 13-episode series COSMOS, which will explore the universe as we currently know it in a major presentation that follows on from Carl Sagan’s classic 1980 series.

A great month for fans of space exploration, and here’s a little extra bonus fact for you to begin with. The Garn Scale is a measure of how travel sick those on board spacecraft are, and indeed quite a lot of them are – the assumption that someone who is an expert in space travel would necessarily also have an iron stomach is a false one. Measuring one on the Garn Scale means you’re doing okay, but Garn ten means you have some serious space sickness. The scale is named after Utah Senator Jake Garn, who flew on the Space Shuttle Discovery in 1985. He was the first US senator in space and was violently ill. Maybe better for most of us to stick to National Geographic.

Image Credit: Thinkstock

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John is a freelance writer from the UK, currently living in Japan and thoroughly enjoying their food and whiskey. His first novel, Three Little Boys, and his travel book, Following Football, are currently available on

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