The Science of Vintage Space

SITE Auditorium

June 15th, 2019 from 4:15pm to 5:15pm

In the early days of the space race, Los Alamos National Laboratory played a critical role in developing sensors for satellites to detect nuclear explosions in space—but it also paid huge scientific dividends. Those sensors ultimately led to important astronomical discoveries, including the discovery of gamma-ray bursts and insights into solar storms and their impacts on the Earth and spacecraft. In addition, Los Alamos’ expertise in all things nuclear led to the development of nuclear-powered rockets (such as Project Rover) and nuclear fuel for spacecraft (RTGs, which currently power spacecraft probing deep space), as well as today’s development of nuclear reactors for powering future space colonies (known as Kilopower).
This panel of experts from Los Alamos will talk about the discoveries—both accidental and intentional—that were made then and how they’ve influenced both our understanding of the universe and how we utilize space today, as well as the evolution of the use of nuclear power in space.