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The Calm Before the Storm

31 Dec 2018, 06:15 UTC
The Calm Before the Storm
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On the surface, all seemed quiet on Sunday at the Kossiakoff Center at Johns Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Laboratory (JHUAPL) in Laurel, Maryland. A few dozen members of the media spoke with some of the leaders of the New Horizons team, including Principal Investigator Alan Stern (a member of the Lowell Observatory Advisory Board) and Lowell planetary scientist Will Grundy. The center certainly had a Lowell feel to it, with Stern and Grundy just two of several people with Lowell ties on hand. Former Lowell scientists Marc Buie, Cathy Olkin, John Spencer, Amanda Zangari, and Simon Porter were also around. Former curator Samantha Thompson, now living in the Washington, D.C. area as she works on her PhD, appeared, too. Later, while I ate dinner with friends from Clyde Tombaugh’s hometown of Streator, Illinois, I noticed a couple other familiar faces at the table next to us. Among astrobiologist/author David Grinspoon and other scientists were Tyler Nordgren and his wife Julie Rathbun, both of whom studied at Lowell years ago. Tyler recently joined Lowell’s advisory board and has also authored several popular astronomy books, as well as created a variety of space posters inspired by WPA educational posters of the 1930s.

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