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I’ve always wondered how much of the crowd that shows up for Science Cafe NH events is there for the food and beer. Last night we had a natural experiment: I moderated a special SCNH in the Discovery Center, without edibles or drinkables, and filled the hall with more than 90 people. Woo-hoo!

The session was spurred by the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 (Tuesday was the anniversary of the launch). It featured three UNH EOS scientists and a Discovery Center educator discussing the past, present and future of lunar and space science.

One interesting moment resulted from a question about the role that private flight – SpaceX et al – will have on space science. Andrew Jordan, who does lunar science, thought a moment and said he expected to work with governments rather than corporations for launches during his entire career (he’s fairly young). On the other hand, Mark McConnell, who’s a senior researcher, pointed out that he’s working on a project that would be put on the Space Station – if it’s funded, he said, it will be carried on a Falcon 9 from SpaceX.

I also learned a neat term: “witness plate” describes an experiment left on the moon through several Apollo missions to collect remnants of solar wind. Here’s a description.

Note that Science Cafe in Concord takes August off. We’ll be back in September.

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