In a landmark collaboration, the popular Long Beach Comic Expo has once again partnered with the prestigious Columbia Memorial Space Center for SPACE EXPO at the Long Beach Convention Center, February 20-21.

For two days, the Columbia Memorial Space Center will be curating space science activities for all ages on the floor of the convention center as well as dynamic panels filled with scientists and researchers from NASA, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), The Planetary Society, Caltech, Virgin Galactic and other organizations focused on the stars. With space once again in the minds of the public, through hit films such as “The Martian,” bringing cutting edge science to the Comic Expo makes sense.

Columbia Memorial Space Center President Ben Dickow explains,

““The Long Beach Comic Expo is a natural platform from which we can communicate the awesome-ness of science, innovation and exploration. We want to create a fandom for science – a fandom that will grow and support the next wave of space explorers and scientific progress. Space, the space program and science are just as much a part of pop culture as comics and sci-fi – both have influenced each other and have had a huge impact on the country.”

“Last year’s inaugural Space Expo programming saw rave reviews from attendees” said Martha Donato, Long Beach Comic Con Executive Director and Co-Founder. “We are so excited have Columbia Space Center return again for two full days of exciting programming that brings science to the science fiction audience.”


So what should guests of Long Beach Comic Expo expect out of SPACE EXPO?

Comics vs Real Space

This presentation will be based on what we think we know about comets, small bodies and space versus what is now known from space missions like Rosetta. This talk will reveal details about the Rosetta Spacecraft, Lander and Mission Status. There will be archived images and images of the comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko in 3D. There will also be a demonstration of a kitchen comet!

Dawn Mission: The Asteroids Awaken

What do TIE fighters and Dawn have in common? Is there a Hoth-like planet hidden in the main asteroid belt? Find out the answers to these questions and learn more about the Dawn spacecraft, which has been orbiting the dwarf planet Ceres since March 2015. In this talk, follow along with Dawn’s journey through time to explore some of the largest objects in the main asteroid belt and learn about the engineering behind the mission and the science that’s come out of it.

Mars Rover Engineering: Technology, Troubles, and Triumphs

The engineering behind the unprecedented success of the NASA/JPL Mars Rover Program: mechanisms, software, and infinite creativity. We’ll talk about design and operations of the rovers Spirit, Opportunity, and Curiosity, and how we learn and improve with each generation. We’ll also share some stories of the many unexpected challenges we have faced and how we overcame them, including hostile Mars environments and aging rovers.

Mars Rover Science: Instruments, Investigations, and Images

The astonishing science brought to us by the NASA/JPL Mars Rovers Spirit, Opportunity, and Curiosity: the goals, the instruments, the results, and other cool stuff . We’ll talk about why we explore Mars and what we hope to learn, as well as the instruments we use to investigate these questions. We’ll share many of the things we have learned, and how our view of Mars has changed over the past 12 years as we explore the Red Planet. Finally, we’ll share some fun surprises and images from this beautiful and fascinating world.

From Mars to the Stars

Louis Friedman will present a new paradigm about the future for human spaceflight — it will reach Mars, and no further. Mars beckons, the only accessible planet that can support human life and there it will be determined if we are doomed to be a single planet species living on a fragile planet with existential threats to our species or one with an unlimited future. The settlement of Mars will take centuries, if not millennia, and thus it is a goal for a creative and exciting future. At the same time, human travel beyond Mars will become an obsolete idea, supplanted by evolving nano- and bio-technologies and by an ever expanding information age. Exploration on Mars will be physical, exploration beyond Mars will be virtual. Friedman will describe how the Mars goal can and should drive NASA’s and other space agencies’ human spaceflight programs beginning with the first flights to a Near Earth Asteroid and finally reaching Mars in the next few decades.

Virgin Galactic: Building a Spaceline and Launching the Small Satellite Revolution

Staff from Virgin Galactic will talk about the progress of building and operating a fleet of suborbital space transportation vehicles (SpaceShipTwo) and building a production line of the world’s most responsive small satellite launch vehicles (LauncherOne).

VR & AR What’s the future? What’s now? An Overview of the State of Technology

Join Mary T Duda, a 20 year veteran in designing Virtual and Augmented Reality in theme parks and games, for a discussion on the technology’s effects on the future of entertainment & education from comic book Apps to Location Based Experiences.

Konstantin Batygin on the New 9th Planet

You may have heard that recently there was evidence found for a distant giant planet in the solar system. Konstatin Batgin is the 28-year old assistant professor at Caltech who is poised to become the next physics rockstar. Join him as he discusses his discovery and takes the rare opportunity to participate in a Q&A

According to LBCE and the Columbia Memorial Space Center, Space Expo is “meant to be engaging, enlightening and great fun for kids and adults alike,” and we highly recommend checking it out. We say it in its first year at Long Beach Comic Con and the sheer amount of people interested in the sights and sounds of the displays on the convention floor were amazing.


One of these Nerds doing Stuff. Can be found drinking cider on the weekends, and attempting to sing any Disney song in his brain that he can come up with in the shower. Thinks albums sound better on vinyl. Collector of useless trivia and references. Puns a plenty.

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