A Celebration of Space Exploration in Honor of Roger B. Chaffee

"There's enough space for everyone!"

Virtual reality

Roger That! 2021 will be going virtual! Stay tuned for updates...

Astronaut training underwater at the Neutral Buoyancy Lab


This year, we join GVSU's "Making Waves" initiative to look at the important connections between space exploration and water!

Making Waves Initiative

Keynote Speakers for Roger That! 2020

Love Story this Valentine's Day? We do too!

Our evening keynote speaker for Roger That! 2020 is Story Musgrave! Dr. Musgrave is the only astronaut to have flown on all five shuttle orbiters (that's Atlantis, Challenger, Columbia, Discovery, and Endeavor), which he accomplished over six missions to space, from 1983-1996. Dr. Musgrave, a former Marine, is also the most formally educated astronaut, with a B.S. in mathematics and statistics, a B.A. in chemistry, an M.S. in physiology and biophysics, an M.B.A. in operations analysis and computer programming, an M.A. in literature, and an M.D.! 

Image of Dr. Story Musgrave

Dr. Musgrave will give a talk in GVSU's Loosemore Auditorium at 5:30pm on Friday, February 14th (Valentine's Day) 2020 called "The Way of Water: Essential, Engaged, Energetic, Adaptable, Cohesive, Transparent, Creative, Flowing, Synergistic, Multidimensional, Unbeatable and Beautiful." On Saturday, February 15th (Roger Chaffee's birthday) 2020 at 11:00am he will speak at the Grand Rapids Public Museum, giving a talk called "Farm Kid to Trauma Surgeon to Rocketman and Way Beyond: Excellence, Exploration, and Evolution." 

Alice Bowman of the New Horizons mission

Alice Bowman, the Mission Operations Manager of the New Horizons mission

Our Friday morning keynote will be Alice Bowman, the Mission Operations Manager for New Horizons, an exploratory mission undertaken by NASA and the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab to better understand Pluto and other objects even further out in the Kuiper Belt, such as the trans-Neptunian object Ultima Thule. Ms. Bowman will talk about the New Horizons mission's past successes and future aspirations, including new evidence for water on Pluto, such as its heart-shaped ice sheet (so appropriate for Valentine's Day!) and the possibility of underground oceans and water volcanoes.

Ms. Bowman will speak at 11am at Grand Valley State University's Loosemore Auditorium on Friday, February 14th, giving a presentation called "New Horizons: Exploring the Icy Heart of Pluto and Beyond".

Cartoon of Pluto emphasizing its heart-shaped ice sheet

Spend Valentine's Day learning about Pluto's "icy heart"

Come learn about the Aquarius Project

To keep floating along with our water theme, Roger That! 2020 will feature a 2:30pm plenary session on February 14th (at the Loosemore Auditorium) about The Aquarius Project. Guests from the Adler Planetarium and the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry will joint us to talk about Aquarius, a citizen-scientist program that allows scientists and students to work together, using underwater robots and other technology, to search pieces of a 600-pound meteorite that splashed into Lake Michigan in February 2017. 

The Aquarius Project

Roger That!






<<<<  Learn more about Roger That! from our video!


Trivia: Roger That! 2020 will wrap up on February 15, 2020, which would have been Roger B. Chaffee's 84th birthday. 


2020 is also the anniversary year for the nearly tragic, ultimately heroic, Apollo 13 mission.

Roger That! Conference

Roger B. Chaffee was born February 15, 1935 in Grand Rapids, Michigan and went on to become one of the city’s favorite sons. An engineer, pilot and astronaut, Chaffee lost his life in the Apollo 1 accident on January 27, 1967. This event, scholarly in nature and open to the general public, is co-organized by Grand Valley State University, the Grand Rapids Public Museum and the Roger B. Chaffee Scholarship Fund. Roger That! seeks to honor Chaffee and highlight local research in a two-day celebration of space exploration.

Roger That! is a series of concurrent events in downtown Grand Rapids taking place the week of February 11th, 2020, with most taking place on Friday, February 14th and Saturday, February 15th. Speakers from a number of different fields will present, in science- and society-based breakout sessions as well as three plenary sessions.

Museum Celebration

Date: Saturday, February 15th, 2020
Location: Grand Rapids Public Museum

The GRPM will continue the celebration of space exploration and the life of Roger B. Chaffee through exciting and educational exhibitions and activities taking place throughout the day.

Presented by Grand Valley State University in association with the Grand Rapids Public Museum and the Roger B. Chaffee Planetarium.

The Roger That! conference is funded in part by the Michigan Space Grant Consortium.