Planetologist has wide view of Earth |

Planetologist has wide view of Earth

If you go

What: Presentation by Ellen Stofan, former NASA scientist and author of "Planetology: Exploring the Planets of the Solar System," including an audio/visual presentation and question-and-answer session

When: 6:30 p.m. Wednesday

Where: Third floor of Bristol Hall at Colorado Mountain College's Alpine Campus

Call: CMC professor of physical science Jimmy Westlake at 870-4537

— Ellen Stofan thinks the world needs some perspective. The best way to get that perspective, says the former NASA scientist, is to get off the planet.

That’s why Stofan is giving a presentation at Colorado Mountain College’s Alpine Campus at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday based on her book, “Planetology: Exploring the Planets of the Solar System,” co-written with NASA astronaut Tom Jones.

The presentation will be in the third-floor library in Bristol Hall.

“The reason we go out beyond is to get a better understanding of the Earth itself,” she said. “Putting the Earth in context as one planet among many puts it in perspective and gives us an understanding.”

Stofan selected Steamboat Springs for her fifth presentation on the topic because of the ties she has long had with the community.

She said her family often would ski in Steamboat since she was a young girl, and her parents now live in town.

“Since I was coming out to ski, my parents said ‘How would you like to give a talk?'” Stofan said. She and Jones, who alternated writing chapters for the book, also created the presentation together using images from NASA missions.

From 1989 to 2000, Stofan was the chief scientist on NASA’s New Millennium Program and deputy project scientist on the Magellan Mission to Venus. She received a Presidential Early Career Award in 1996, a NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal in 1995 for her work on SIR-C and a NASA Exceptional Service medal in 1993 for her work on Magellan, according to a news release about her presentation.

The lecture is the second presented this winter by the Yampa Valley Astronomy Club, the CMC Sky Club and CMC professor of physical science Jimmy Westlake.

The presentation will include a 45-minute talk and 15 minutes for questions. Stofan said the presentation is aimed at a general audience and that no prior knowledge of astronomy is required.

Copies of Stofan’s book will be available for purchase at the presentation.

– To reach Zach Fridell, call 871-4208 or e-mail

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