Text Size

'Titan Through Time' Public Lecture: Dr. Ralph Lorenz

Titan in History and Popular Culture

Ralph Lorenz Image courtesy Dr. Ralph Lorenz Join us at the Visitor Center at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., on Tuesday, Apr. 3, 2012, at 7 p.m. EDT for a public lecture about Saturn's intriguing moon Titan.

Titan is a fixture in science fiction, making appearances in books, movies and television as well as comic books and video games. And why not? It's the only moon in the solar system with an atmosphere worthy of a planet. It's a place where clouds of methane float in a hazy brownish sky that kept the moon shrouded in mystery until recently, when science began to tell Titan's story.

This talk will review how Titan has been portrayed in science fiction and art over the years, from Chesley Bonnestell's iconic painting with a Saturn in a blue sky behind jagged hills, through Arthur C. Clarke's 'Imperial Earth' novel, where Titan resounds to the howl of ramscoops from spacecraft refueling in its atmosphere, and more. The talk will also review world history around key events in Titan exploration—some remarkably recurrent themes emerge even across the centuries since Titan's discovery.

Dr. Ralph Lorenz is a scientist at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Md., who specializes in research on Titan, especially its climate, weather and landscape. In 1990 and 1991, he worked for the European Space Agency on the design of the Huygens probe, which landed on the surface of Titan in January 2005. He is presently the Project Scientist for the Titan Mare Explorer (TiME) mission being proposed to NASA for flight to Titan's polar sea Ligeia Mare in 2023. His other research interests include the geology and geophysics of icy moons, dust devils on Earth and Mars, and the design of instruments for planetary exploration. He is author or co-author of several books including 'Lifting Titan's Veil', 'Spinning Flight', and 'Space Systems Failures' as well as more than 180 publications in refereed journals.

Doors open at 6 p.m. and the lecture will start promptly at 7 p.m. Space is limited. Please register in advance by using the form below. Directions to Goddard's Visitor Center can be found here.

Pre-registration for the Titan is now closed. Visitors are still welcome to attend without pre-registration. Please note that attendees who have submitted pre-registration forms will have priority for seating, and that overflow seating may be required to accommodate all guests.