George Mason University’s (GMU) Manassas Science and Technology campus took community members beyond the Earth’s atmosphere through its Galileo Science Cafe.
A former NASA astronaut Tom Jones discussed space exploration and planets at the event, which was held earlier this month.
“[Earth is] our favorite planet and an oasis in space,” Jones said. “I’ve had a chance to explore Earth as a scientist from space looking down from space using a radar camera, just as we did with Venus, to map the surface of our changing planet.”
Mike Summers, a planetary scientist and professor in GMU’s physics and astronomy department, expanded on Jones’ discussion on planets by providing more details about Pluto’s surface, which feature ice volcanoes.
“Now, how do you get an ice volcano?” Summers said. “Well you’ve got to have a liquid that is used to simulate with underneath, high pressure that forces its way up and then will burst onto the surface. What you have is water – liquid water.”
Jones and Summers also talked about how scientists are using past discoveries to learn more about the solar system.
“We’re discovering more and more about how our Earth functions by studying the planets around us. They give us a planetary library to use comparisons from other worlds to understand our own better,” Jones said.