DASSEL, MN – Did you know that a moon of Neptune has ice volcanoes that erupt ice lava?
NASA Solar System Ambassador Jay Gallentine knows all kinds of strange things about the solar system, and he plans to share some of them at the Dassel Public Library Monday, March 12 from 3:30 to 5 p.m.
The presentation is free and open to the public, and it’s suitable for all ages.
“For this talk, I will take my audience through a countdown of the 10 most bizarre places in the solar system,” Gallentine noted.
After about 50 minutes of speaking, there will be a question-and-answer session. Gallentine said children will often come up and ask even more questions after that.
“Aliens and black holes are always big topics for kids to ask about,” he said.
Gallentine knows what it’s like to be a kid who is interested in space. When he was 10 years old, his father gave him a big book – loaded with pictures – about the Apollo moon missions.
“It wasn’t anything I had asked for; it was more of a ‘thought you might be interested in this,’” Gallentine recalled. “And near as I can tell, that’s what sparked my interest in space. So the joke I make is that this is all my Dad’s fault.”
And by “this,” Gallentine is referring to his lifelong fascination with space, which he has made into a career. Gallentine is a space historian who researches and writes books about the history of exploring space.
“My own specific focus is on the history of solar system exploration, American and Soviet,” he said.
Many of Gallentine’s interviews have been with the people who create robotic spaceships to fly to other planets.
“. . . One of the biggest surprises has been how totally committed they get to a project,” he said. “I am talking about working for so long, and so hard, that they have literally fallen asleep at their desks. Or they completely forgot to eat multiple meals.”
Gallentine added that there are people working on the Mars rover missions who live on Mars time.
“A Martian day is about 40 minutes longer than an Earth day,” he said. “So, every morning these people get up 40 minutes later than they did yesterday. Can you imagine living like that?”
Gallentine’s work as NASA Solar System Ambassador is volunteer, and is separate from his books. The volunteers are people from all different jobs and backgrounds who go out into communities and give presentations about what is happening in the solar system.
“We are all listed on the [Jet Propulsion Laboratory] JPL website by location, and people can contact us to request a visit,” Gallentine said.
To learn more about the Monday, March 12 presentation in Dassel, contact the Dassel Public Library at (320) 275-3756.