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1999 Symposium

The Morrison Planetarium and the

Astronomical Association of
Northern California

Invite you to A One-Day Symposium on Future Science in the 21st Century


Saturday March 27, 1999 in the May Treat Morrison Auditorium and Morrison Planetarium

California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco

Speakers will address topics including:

Dr. Alex Filippenko of University of California, Berkeley --
Einstein's Biggest Blunder? The Case for an Accelerating Universe.
Recognizing that gravity should make the Universe contract, but believing the Universe to be static, Albert Einstein introduced the "cosmological constant" (a long-range repulsive effect) shortly after developing his General Theory of Relativity. When Edwin Hubble discovered that the Universe is expanding, Einstein renounced the cosmological constant, calling it the biggest blunder of his career. Ever since, most cosmologists have assumed that the Universe began in an expanding state (the Big Bang), and that gravity has gradually decelerated this expansion. Recently, however, two independent groups observing very distant supernovae (exploding stars) have found strong evidence that the expansion of the Universe is actually *accelerating* with time! This suggests that the cosmological constant is positive, that the Universe will expand forever, and that space is geometrically flat on large scales. Moreover, the derived age of the Universe is 14 billion years, consistent with the ages of the oldest known stars. In his talk, Dr. Filippenko will present an overview of the project, its results, and implications. This work was recently voted the "Science Breakthrough of 1998" by Science magazine.

Dr. Alan Binder of the Lunar Research Institute and NASA AMES; Our future on the Moon
Can you imagine ice-skating on the Moon? Does the discovery of lunar ice renew our visions of lunar observatories? Apollo astronauts landed on the Moon thirty years ago. Now, with Lunar Prospector skimming over the Moon's surface, we're learning much more about our nearest neighbor in space! Could the Moon still be active geologically? What potentially valuable minerals might we find there? Dr. Binder will give us the latest on Lunar Prospector and future missions. He'll show how his Icebreaker mission -- piggy-backed on LunaCorp's privately funded Polaris rover -- would drill for ice in the crater Peary at the Moon's north pole. In the 21st century, will the Moon be "our island in the sky" for space-tourists to visit? Will it become the hub of space commerce, the hopping-off point for outbound space-clippers taking us on to interplanetary adventures?.

Dr. Jeff Moore of NASA AMES

What is the future of Mars exploration and beyond?
Mysterious Mars has captivated our popular and scientific imagination for generations. In the Space Age, our dreams of canals built by Martians have evaporated. But now we wonder did Mars once have oceans? Where is all the water now? Where might we search for signs of ancient life? Could life exist today on the Red Planet? Where, when, and how will humans land on Mars? What role do comets and asteriods play in the martian story? Dr. Moore will give us a close-up look at Mars missions now in progress, and chart our course ahead for future exploration of the Red Planet!

Dr. Debra Fischer of SFSU and Lick Observatory
Space Interferometry Mission website:
The Quest for Earthlike Planets: New Planet discoveries -- When will we discover worlds like Earth? What are we learning about the 18 new extra-solar planets discovered by Dr. Fischer and her colleagues? When will we discover worlds like Earth? How will we find them? Are Earthlike planets rare in our galaxy, or a likely result of the way solar systems form? What stunning new discoveries await us? Don't miss Dr. Fischer's look into future missions and astronomical techniques needed for 21st century planet searches!

Dr. Dan Werthimer of Project Serendip
The Search for signals from other Civilizations: SETI@home, SERENDIP, Optical SETI and the 1 Hectare Telescope
One of the most likely means of detecting advanced civilizations is from their radio emissions. Civilizations may be attempting to contact us by directing intentional radio beacons at our solar system, or we may be able to detect unintentional radio leakage from their transmitters. Werthimer will discuss the rationale behind the search for radio signals and present results from the SERENDIP sky survey at the world's largest radio telescope in Arecibo, Puerto Rico. He will also discuss UC Berkeley's optical seti program, plans for the 1 hectare radio telescope, and SETI@home.

The SETI@home project uses the desktop computers of hundreds of thousands of volunteers as the analysis engine for a sky survey. Users have the small but captivating possibility that their computer will detect the first signal from a civilization beyond Earth.

NASA Ames sponsored space colony winning designs will be set up for viewing. Meet the students who created these self-sufficient homes for space living, visit their orbital habitats online, and hear how they would transform 20th-century science-fiction ideas into 21st-century reality! Could we move asteroids and hollow them out for living in space? Could we build space settlements designed for travel to the stars?

Panel discussion: What are the goals and trends in amateur astronomy? What does the future hold for amateurs? How will we encourage young astronomers? Hear what a panel of prominent amateur astronomers have to say. Stargazing at Night: Join the San Francisco Amateur Astronomers for an old fashioned City Star Party after the Symposium, weather permitting. Directions to GGNRA Lands End (near Cliff House) will be available in the display area. Visit the SFAA at

Star Party and astronomy talk at Point Lobos. SFAA website with directions to the City Star Party

A full day of exciting science
for the general public.

AANC Symposium at Morrison

Tentative Schedule

Refreshments and display tables will be in Goethe Room all day.

Welcome 8:30-8:40 Planetarium.

Amateur Astronomy Panel Discussion 8:40-9:10 Planetarium.

Debra Fisher 9:20-10:20 Planetarium

Break 10:20-10:35

Dan Wertheimer 10:35-11:25 Auditorium

Alan Binder 11:35-12:25 Auditorium

Announcements--Project Astro 12:25-12:35 Auditorium

Lunch 12:35-1:35

AANC Award Presentations 1:35-1:45 Planetarium

Filippenko, Keynote 1:45-2:45 Planetarium

Jeff Moore 2:55-3:45 Planetarium

Break 3:45-4:00

Space Settlement Winners 4:00-4:45 Auditorium

Project Astro website

For more information and pre-registration:

Morrison Planetarium Office: (415) 750-7127, 10-6 M-F
California Academy of Sciences, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, Ca

Registration fees are as follows:

(Make check payable to "Morrison Planetarium")

Advance Registration: $20.00
10-18 years of age: $10.00
Registration at the door (all ages) $25.00.
(Includes admission to the Academy and a Planetarium ticket.)

To register, print out and mail in the registration form page.

More exciting speakers may join is, so for up to date information, please visit this web site at for updates