Call for contributions to the OASIS website and The Odyssey

Here’s a call for contributions to the OASIS website and The Odyssey! Write about local space events and STEM events, and send us photographs too! The Odyssey has been on a long hiatus but is coming back – but material is needed! Thanks!

Please send to the newsletter editor Lisa Kaspin-Powell

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International Space Development Conference 2020 – May 28-31

Come out to ISDC 2020, whose theme is Continuing the Journey!
Thursday May 28 – Sunday May 31
Embassy Suites by Hilton Dallas-Frisco Hotel and Convention Center, Dallas TX

To find out about our speakers, click here

To find out about what exciting topics will be featured, click here

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Reminder! OuteRimCon – the MiniCon – Exploring the Imagination of Science! February 29, 2020


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Remembering Leonard Nimoy on the 5th anniversary of his passing

By Seth Potter
President, OASIS

Today marks the fifth anniversary of the passing of Leonard Nimoy, so I would like to re-post what I said on that day:
Leonard Nimoy may have played a fictional character, but his contributions to space exploration were very real. From inspiring those of us who grew up with Star Trek: TOS to his contribution to the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles to his narration of IMAX films on space exploration, his work will live on into the 23rd century and beyond.

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A moving tribute to Katherine Johnson

This cartoon pays tribute to how Katherine Johnson’s mathematical expertise helped carry NASA astronauts to the Moon and back.

(@Steve Breen is a Pulitzer Prize winning editorial cartoonist for the San Diego Union-Tribune. His cartoons can be found at GoComics and he also has a Facebook page.)

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Katherine Johnson, ground-breaking NASA mathematician depicted in “Hidden Figures”, dies at 101

OASIS NSS says farewell and salutes Katherine Johnson, a barrier-breaking NASA mathematician who played crucial roles in (among many milestone accomplishments) Freedom 7, America’s first human spaceflight; and the first United States orbital spaceflight. Her pioneering work opened the doors of space exploration to women and people of color, and serves as a great inspiration to all. Johnson passed away at age 101 – a life well lived!

Read more about Johnson’s accomplishments and life here.

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Apollo 13: Special Screenings in honor of the movie’s 25th Anniversary! April 5, 6, 8

It’s been 50 years since the Apollo 13 mission, and 25 years since the premiere of the stunning dramatic rendition that brought the historic flight and its crew to life for a new generation. Nominated for nine Academy Awards®, including Best Picture, the real-life space flight that gripped the nation and changed the world is returning to theatres for a special in theatre event in honor of the anniversary of both the movie and the mission.

It had been less than a year since man first walked on the moon, but as far as the American public was concerned, Apollo 13 was just another “routine” space flight – until these infamous words pierced the immense void of space: “Houston, we have a problem.” Produced by Brian Grazer and directed by Ron Howard, Apollo 13 stars Tom Hanks, Kevin Bacon, Bill Paxton, Gary Sinise and Ed Harris in NASA’s epic operation to save the lives of 3 astronauts battling to survive an ill-fated mission to the moon.

Join your friends and family, young and old for an Apollo 13 experience that only the big screen can deliver!

Click here for showtimes and tickets.

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Today is the 55th Anniversary of John Glenn’s Friendship 7 Flight!

On this day in 1962, United States Marine Lieutenant Colonel John Glenn became the first American to orbit the Earth aboard his Mercury spacecraft, Friendship 7. It was the third flight of Project Mercury following two sub-orbital flights, and the first to use the more powerful Atlas ICBM booster rocket. The flight plan called for between three and seven orbits. However, Glenn made only three orbits, as a sensor indicated that his vital heat shield might have been coming loose. He was forced to make an unorthodox reentry into Earth’s atmosphere while leaving the retro-rocket package, a device strapped over the heat shield used to slow the spacecraft for the return home, in place instead of being jettisoned. It was hoped that the straps would hold the shield in place. After reporting “a real fireball outside”, there were a few tense minutes as Glenn flew through an expected communications blackout. Soon after, John Glenn radioed that his parachutes were deployed and he made a safe splashdown in the Atlantic Ocean. The flight lasted just under five hours. It was later determined that the heat shield sensor was faulty.


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Solar Orbiter lifts off! February 10, 2020

Artist’s rendition of the Solar Orbiter facing the Sun. Copyright: Spacecraft: ESA/ATG medialab; Sun: NASA/SDO/ P. Testa (CfA)

On February 10, the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Solar Orbiter blasted off atop an United Launch Alliance Atlas V from Cape Canaveral. Over the next 7 years, the Solar Orbiter will capture the first-ever images of the Sun’s poles and its far side, gathering data about solar activity. Specifically:

  • How the Sun creates and controls the heliosphere – the layer surrounding our solar system
  • How the Sun’s magnetic field and solar winds are generated
  • How to better predict solar storms and eruptions that disrupt the Earth’s weather
  • How these disturbances affect the solar system in general

Advances in heat shield technology will enable the 10 science instruments to collect more data in real time at 26 million miles away from the Sun; this proximity is necessary to gather data about how the heliosphere is generated and controlled.

These data will complement the Parker Solar Probe as well as ground telescopes to give us an unprecedented global view of the Sun.

The ESA is leading the mission, with considerable participation by NASA.

Read more about the ESA Solar Orbiter mission here


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OASIS and Aerospace Legacy Foundation at LosCon46, November 29-December 1, 2019

TOP From left: Arlene Busby, Seth Potter
BOTTOM From left: Kathryn Sullivan, Arlene Busby, Valerie Frankel, Neal Hallford, Gary Westfahl

This fall, OASIS continued their tradition of participation in the Los Angeles Science Fiction Convention. LosCon 46 took place on November 29-December 1, 2019 at the Marriott Los Angeles Airport Hotel. OASIS has a long history with LosCon, providing panelists to a wide variety of tracks and meeting the other guests at their fan table. This year, OASIS shared a fan table with the Aerospace Legacy Foundation (, which promotes and preserves the history of aerospace in California while looking to its future.

Dr. Seth Potter, OASIS Chapter President, was very busy participating in several panels at LosCon, and in fact was the moderator for two of them. In “The Moon, Mars, Asteroids: When, Why, and How?” the panel discussed these bodies as manned mission targets in the near, medium, and farther future, and also discussed the possible technologies that could get us there. Along with Potter, the panelists were Timothy Cassidy-Curtis (engineer), Robert Gounley (NASA-JPL), and Sandra Stoller (Aerojet Rocketdyne).  Potter was also the moderator for “Class M Planets: Exoplanet Discoveries,” for which the panel also consisted of Dr. Ashish Mahabal (Caltech/JPL) and Lenny Dorsky (JPL).

In “No Tow Truck Beyond Mars,” the panelists discussed how we go boldly where there’s no one around to fix things. They told stories from the trenches of the heartbreaks, close calls, and adventures of real-life solar system exploration. David Rosing (JPL) was the moderator, with panelists Potter, Ashley Stroupe (JPL), Kim Steadman (JPL) and Cassidy-Curtis.

In “The New Views of the Universe: Extra Dimensions, Dark Matter and Cosmic Adventures,” Potter was a panelist along with Dr. James C. Glass (Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America) (moderator), Sean Carroll (Caltech), Gregory Benford (University of California at Irvine), and Dr. Mahabal (Caltech/JPL).

Arlene Busby, who serves as Aerospace Legacy Foundation President and OASIS Membership Chair, has a long and rich history with LosCon, serving in various capacities over the years. She was the conference chair of LosCon 38 and programming chair at several other conventions, and served as a speaker/panelist many times over. She is also the conference chair of OuteRimCon, a convention that unites science fiction with science and STEM education, which took place for the first time in October 2017, and will take place again in February 2020. Keep your eyes on the OASIS website and on for further developments!

Busby was a panelist on “All Things Doctor Who” along with Gary Westfahl (science fiction author, Professor Emeritus at the University of La Verne), Neal Hallford (Swords & Circuitry Studios), Valerie Frankel (Mission College, SJCC), and Kathryn Sullivan (author).  They talked about their favorite episodes, favorite Doctors, favorite villains, favorite sayings, the current Doctor, and some of the episodes from season 11 of the new Doctor.

Thanks to Craig Rogers and Curt Steindler and the rest of the OASIS volunteers! Apologies if any volunteer names were missed – they will be added.

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