The von Kármán Lecture Series: 2021
January 2021 - Spacecraft Origami
For years, engineers have had to deal with "the tyranny of the fairing," that anything you want to send into space has to fit into a rocket bearing. A field of advanced design has been looking for new ways to improve our engineering, using the centuries-old artform to dream bigger.
February 2021 - Planetary Protection
Protecting the Earth from the scum of the universe... and the universe from the scum of Earth. We chat with Moogega Cooper (Mars 2020, Europa Clipper) about preventing contamination during missions around the solar system and making sure they don't bring anything dangerous back with them.
March 2021 - Helicopters in Space
How do you fly a helicopter on Mars? It takes Ingenuity and Perseverance. During this technology demo, Farah Alibay and Tim Canham will get into the details of how these craft will manage this incredible task.
April 2021 - Science on Ice
Celebrate Earth Day with us as we explore the world’s ice and what it can tell us about our climate. We’ll talk with scientist Alex Gardner about our cryosphere and how it affects our future.
May 2021 - Space Cameras: A Sharper Image
Are you ready for your close-up? Our newest space exploring cameras are bringing the universe into even sharper focus. We’ll discuss how we get these extraordinary images of the solar system and beyond back to the phone in your pocket.
June 2021 - Oh, Jupiter! We Thought We Knew You
Our knowledge of the Jupiter system has grown exponentially in the past few years however, the more we know, the more questions we have. We’ll discuss how our theories have changed and what’s next for Jupiter and Europa.
July 2021 - Science + Art: Picturing Discovery
A scientist and an artist walk into a room… In this STEAM inspired chat, we’ll discuss how science influences art and art, in turn, influences science. We’ll discuss how JPL artists collaborate with scientists to create artistic renderings of scientific discoveries and how artists take information and enhance it through data visualization.
August 2021 - Psyche: Mission to a Metal World
Deep within the terrestrial planets, including Earth, scientists infer the presence of metallic cores, but these lie unreachably far below the planets’ rocky mantles and crusts. The asteroid Psyche offers a unique window into these building blocks of planet formation and the opportunity to investigate a previously unexplored type of world.
September 2021 - Instrumental: Engineers Who Make Science Possible
We'll sit down for a one-on-one with Janelle Wellons and discuss her upcoming work with the Multi-Angle Imager for Aerosols (MAIA), weaving together the challenges of the mission with her journey to JPL.
October 2021 - The Warm Glow of our Cool Universe
In order to explore the mysteries of our universe, we need to look at it in different ways. Astrophysics missions like SPHEREx and Euclid will use infrared astronomy to deepen our knowledge of unseen phenomena, such as inflation and dark matter. Join us as we explore how infrared observations are changing our understanding of the cosmos and its origins.
November 2021 - Rising Tides: First Year in Space for NASA’s Earth Flagship
Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich will continue a decades-long effort to measure global ocean height from space, which started in the early 1990s. Tune in to hear what we’ve learned from the newest sea-level monitoring satellite.