UND Space Studies graduate students host space talk Saturday

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News Article

Publication Date


Campus Unit

John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences


The search for extraterrestrial life begins with finding habitable planets elsewhere in space. It's a subject that fascinates space researchers such as Annie Wargetz and Katrina Jackson, both master's degree students in this endlessly compelling field.

Both Wargetz, from Houston, and Jackson, from the Washington D.C. area, are University of North Dakota Space Studies graduate students. They've organized a series titled "Outer Space in the Great Plains", which includes a presentation Saturday about distant planets, as National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)/Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) Solar System Ambassador volunteers.

Their talk Saturday will focus on exoplanets - planets found outside our solar system - and NASA's Kepler mission. Kepler is NASA's first mission capable of finding Earth-size planets around other stars.

The Department of Space Studies is part of the UND John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences.

The talk is free and open to the public.

Who: Annie Wargetz and Katrina Jackson, graduate students in the UND Space Studies master's program and NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador volunteers

What: An hour-long presentation will provide information on planets found outside our solar system and NASA's Kepler mission.

When: 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 9

Where: Clifford Hall, Room 210; free parking is available in the lot just south of Clifford Hall.


The field of discovering and studying exoplanets has grown exponentially over the past two decades, with almost 900 already confirmed, most within the past few years. Exoplanets challenge our understanding of solar system formation and Earth's place in the universe.

About the NASA Solar System Ambassadors Program

The Solar System Ambassadors Program is an activity of NASA's JPL. It offers information and excitement about real missions that explore our solar system. Volunteer ambassadors in communities throughout the country are selected by JPL based on their backgrounds and on their plans for public outreach activities. JPL provides ambassadors with educational materials and training. However, the opinions of Ambassadors are not necessarily those of NASA or JPL. Further information about the Solar System Ambassadors Program is available at http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/ambassador/. JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, Calif.