A NASA engineer will discuss the ongoing examination of planets beyond our solar system during her Oct. 23 public talk at Rogers State University in Claremore.
Tracy Drain, a flight systems engineer with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, will discuss NASA’s Kepler Mission and its objective to explore the structure and diversity of planetary systems in our part of the Milky Way galaxy. Launched in 2009, Kepler has confirmed the existence of more than 1,000 exoplanets, including 12 that are less than twice Earth-sized in a habitable zone where liquid water might exist on the planet’s surface.
Drain will speak at 11:00 a.m., Friday, Oct. 23, at the Stratton Taylor Library on RSU’s Claremore campus. Her talk is free and open to the public. An informal meet and greet session with the speaker will follow in the library coffee bar area on the second floor.
Drain’s RSU appearance is part of the 4th Annual AeroGames competition, which is a competition sponsored by Google and RSU to encourage middle and high school students to participate in hands-on STEM-related activities. During the AeroGames event at RSU’s Pryor campus the following day, Drain will meet and talk with the middle and high school students participating in the competition.
She has participated in the AeroGames event in three of the last four years thanks to Google’s sponsorship and the professional connections developed with Dr. Jamie Graham, Professor and Head of RSU’s Department of Math and Physical Sciences. As a result of her visits to Oklahoma, Drain and other JPL engineers also have participated with Graham and her students for RSU field courses in Central America.
During Drain’s 15 years at the Jet Propulsion Labs, she has participated in the development and operation of the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (now in orbit at Mars), Kepler (now searching for new Exoplanets), and Juno (currently on its way to Jupiter, slated to arrive in July 2016). In parallel with her ongoing work on Juno operations, she is also the supervisor for the flight systems engineering group, providing guidance and oversight to other engineers who support a variety of JPL missions.
For more information about the AeroGames competition, visit www.rsu.edu/AeroGames.
For more information about Drain’s talk at the RSU Claremore campus, contact the RSU Department of Math and Physical Sciences at 918-343-6812.