Curiosity about the cosmos has been a part of mankind since the dawn of civilization. From ancient astrologers discovering patterns in the stars to modern day marvels about what rests beyond our universe, a desire to understand the unknown has always punctuated mankind’s drive for discovery. While technology and advancements in science have answered many of our questions, there is one which continues to plague the minds of researchers all over the globe: can life be sustained on a planet besides our own? Throughout the stars, there are a number of galactic bodies which present unique challenges, obstacles, and opportunities in their ability to support human life. If you’ve ever wondered about the possibility of pursuing life on another planet, you’ll want to stay tuned for the New Jersey State Museum’s next edition of Science Under the Stars.

On Saturday, April 20th, the New Jersey State Museum welcomes you to their next installment of Science Under the Stars, “Ice Dunes or Molten Hellscape?”. This engaging conversation will kick off at 4:15pm inside the New Jersey State Museum’s Planetarium, located at 205 W State St, Trenton, NJ 08608. Your host for the afternoon’s discussion will be Dr. Mariah MacDonald, a subject matter experience from The College of New Jersey. This monthly lecture series is free to attend, however, as space inside the Planetarium is limited, advanced registration is required. You can enroll in advance by completing the registration form, linked here: Register – NJSM. If you plan on driving to the event, there is plenty of free parking available directly adjacent to the museum.

Throughout the afternoon’s gripping guide through the stars, Dr. MacDonald will explore what elements make a planet habitable, as well as how we can use the dynamics of planets to study their composition, formation, and evolution. The study of life on other planets, Astrobiology, seeks to uncover how other planets sustain life, with the ultimate goal of constraining the frequency of habitable planets. Groundbreaking research now suggests that of the countless bodies in the Milky Way, one can find an average of 0.35 Earth-like planets per star. With plenty of encouraging research to further support these claims, the concept of habitable planets beyond Earth comes closer to fruition each and every day. A fascinating retrospective on the various discoveries to date, this lecture is certain to leave you enthralled with the limitless potential of what lies beyond our skies.

For more information on this and other upcoming events at the New Jersey State Museum, you can visit their website, available here: NJSM – Home. You can also contact the New Jersey State Museum staff at if you have any questions or would like any help getting signed up for this upcoming conversation. The possibility of a habitable planet has captivated mankind for millennia, and now is your chance to learn more about what lies ahead for the future of life beyond Earth.

Science Under the Stars: Ice Dunes or Molten Hellscape?

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