Five NASA-themed Trek Talks will take place during next month’s Star Trek: Mission New York. The convention takes place September 2-4 at the Javits Center in New York City.
According to a press release, “NASA’s Trek Talks at Star Trek: Mission New York will give fans the opportunity to be fully immersed in the fascinating ways in which Star Trek has impacted space exploration, from paving the way for new technologies, to fostering an interest in the exploring beyond Earth, and dreaming up alien life.”
The discussions will include Trek actors, astronauts, engineers and scientists.
Several of the talks are described below. Other discussions will “focus on health care, literary references, fashion in the series and more.”
On Sept. 3 at 12:15 p.m., in the Ugly Bags of Mostly Water panel, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory scientist Bobak Ferdowsi and Phil Plait (writer of Slate‘s Bad Astronomy blog), will discuss what real aliens might look like.
The same day at 3:30 p.m., NASA scientists Matt Ritsko and Jeff Volosin will discuss different ways to find alien planets. The duo work on the agency’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) project, which is currently in development.
On Sept. 4 at 11:45 a.m., the two will return to discuss TESS in more detail, including how it will spot faraway planets and how its spacecraft will be built and managed.
On Sept. 4 at 10:30 a.m., Dan Werthimer, chief scientist for SETI at the University of California, Berkeley, and Ferdowsi will talk about first contact and the search for life in the universe.
On Sept. 4 at 1:30 p.m., a NASA panel will discuss how the Star Trek ethos and technologies have inspired real NASA developments, and how the future of spaceflight will mirror and differ from the Star Trek version. This panel will feature Kjell Lindgren, NASA astronaut; Michelle Thaller, NASA‘s deputy director of science communications; Dave Lavery, a program executive for solar system exploration at NASA; Jeffrey Sheehy, a senior technical officer at NASA; and Adam Nimoy. The panel will be moderated by Star Trek: Voyager‘s actor Robert Picardo.