Explore space at Roger That! celebration downtown

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A weekend of events focused on space exploration, honoring NASA astronaut in the Apollo program and Grand Rapids native Roger Chaffee, is returning next month.

The fourth Roger That! celebration will include an academic and public conference at Grand Valley State University and hands-on activities at Grand Rapids Public Museum, Feb. 14-15.

Academic conference

Those interested in attending the free public academic conference on Feb. 14 should register online.

The day begins with a keynote from Alice Bowman, one of the leaders of a mission that explored Pluto.

The 2:30 p.m. session will feature guests from the Adler Planetarium and Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. The session will discuss Aquarius, a citizen-scientist program that allows students and scientists to work together, using underwater robots and additional technology, to search for pieces of a 600-pound meteorite that splashed into Lake Michigan in February 2017.

At 5:30 in GVSU’s Loosemore Auditorium, NASA astronaut Story Musgrave, who was the only astronaut to fly on every shuttle, will present a talk on “The Way of Water.”

There will be an honorary dinner for Bowman and Musgrave at 7:30 p.m. at the Holiday Inn Grand Rapids Downtown. There are a limited number of tickets for $25, which can be reserved through the general registration form.

The dinner will be followed by a special showing of Space School in the GRPM Chaffee Planetarium.

Public celebration

Visitors can learn more about Roger Chaffee and space exploration from 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Feb. 15, at GRPM.

The day includes a jet propulsion activity, gazing at the daytime sky with telescopes, creating underwater remotely operated vehicles, interacting with space artifacts and much more.

Activities are included with general admission.

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