Life in space is the theme for this year's Roger That!
Conference, where attendees can hear from a former NASA astronaut
who was also the first orthopedic surgeon in space.
Dr. Robert Satcher will deliver the keynote, speaking
both days of the event, February 16 and 17. Satcher, who is also a
chemical engineer, flew aboard STS-129 in 2009 on a mission to the
International Space Station. During this mission, Satcher performed
two spacewalks, contributing to the maintenance and assembly of the station.
Programming from the conference, in its eighth year,
will take a broad look at life, including microbes, plants, animals,
extraterrestrial life and homo sapiens. Experts will also explore
what it's like to be a human in space.
The annual conference, a joint venture between Grand
Valley and the Grand Rapids Public Museum, celebrates space
exploration and the life of Grand Rapids native Roger B. Chaffee.
Chaffee, along with Gus Grissom and Ed White, died in 1967 during an
Apollo I pre-flight test when a fire broke out in the cockpit of
their command module.
The slate of events includes an academic and public
conference at GVSU, STEAM and STEM K-12 school programming from both
partner organizations, and a public celebration at the GRPM.
"Roger That! 2024 is a rare opportunity to connect
to experts who are making human lives in space better and finding
new places where humans could potentially live," said Deana
Weibel, professor of anthropology and Roger That! co-organizer.
"What do humans need to be able to live in space? How do we
deal with the challenges astronauts face? This year's event allows
students and community members to connect to those on the forefront
of space medicine, biology, engineering and more who are uncovering
the secrets of life in the universe."
There will be two opportunities to hear Satcher present
his speech. Satcher will speak at 6:30 p.m. February 16 at the L.
William Seidman Center on the Pew Grand Rapids Campus. The lecture
is free through registration at the Roger That! website.
Satcher will also speak at 11 a.m. Saturday, February
17th at the GRPM. Tickets for this lecture are available free of
charge at the
GRPM website. Advance ticketing is strongly
recommended as the lecture is expected to reach capacity quickly.
GVSU's free academic conference on February 16, open to
educators and the general public, will present a wide array of
speakers and learning opportunities.
Here are some highlights:
A slate of speakers covering a wide range of topics.
Presenters include GVSU faculty members Mark Staves, professor of
cell and molecular biology and Tim Evans, professor of biology.
Two workshops by faculty members, covering topics
such as the upcoming total solar eclipse on April 8.
A hybrid Design That! Challenge, which allows students to produce projects reflecting
space-related topics, is open to students in grades 4-8.