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Space Science Events

Take in a special planetarium show, look through our 16" observatory telescope, or learn about space at one of our special Space Science themed events!


At this time, no events are scheduled at the museum.  Please check back for future events and entrance information.

Upcoming Events

December 9, 2021 - 6:00pm

Museum planetary geologist Larry Crumpler will discuss some portions of his newly-released book Missions to Mars.  Doors will open at 6 p.m. for you to meet the author and tour the museum’s newest exhibition Mars: Science and Culture.  Starting at 6:30, Dr. Crumpler’s talk will also provide an update on the current Perseverance rover mission.  After the presentation, buy a copy of the book and get it signed by the author!  Book purchases can only be made by credit card at this event.

$5 event tickets must be purchased in advance by clicking here.
Preoder a copy of Dr. Crumpler's book by clicking here.
Consider having multiple books signed since they’ll make unforgettable gifts!  Any copy of the book purchased through the Nature Works Store, either online or in person, will include an exclusive link to see a recording of Dr. Crumpler’s talk!

Missions to Mars is a vivid insider account of NASA’s most exciting missions to the Red Planet, illustrated with full-color photographs.  This wondrous chronicle of unprecedented scientific discovery recounts the history of our understanding of Mars, from the earliest days of Earth-based telescopes to the breakthrough discoveries of today's technology.  The book also recounts the personal story of a scientist attempting to understand a brand new world.

The temporary exhibition Mars: Science and Culture shows unforgettable images taken by exploration spacecraft during the development of our understanding about Mars.  Movie posters and memorabilia interspersed throughout the exhibit show the fanciful and sometimes frightening ways in which Mars has been perceived in popular culture and science fiction.  Some of the objects come from Dr. Crumpler’s personal collection.

Any plans for this event may require changes due to public health orders and state policies at the time.  This may include postponing to a later day.  Be sure the check the museum’s website for updates:


Larry S. Crumpler, Ph.D. is Research Curator of Volcanology and Space Sciences at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science. He received his doctorate from the University of Arizona in Planetary Sciences and MS from the University of New Mexico in Geology.  Prior to the Museum, he worked as a research scientist at Brown University.  His research includes the geology of the inner planets of our solar system, with particular emphasis on Mars, and studies of New Mexico volcanism with an emphasis on lava flows. 

Dr. Crumpler began his work with Mars as a student intern with NASA’s Viking Mission and later worked with the Mars Pathfinder mission, Magellan radar mission to Venus, and planning for the Russian Mars 96 mission.  He has participated in landing site selection for all of the landed Mars science missions to date, and in many rover field tests.  He has published many professional papers, book chapters, and geologic maps and is a Fellow of the Geological Society of America. 

Currently, Dr. Crumpler is a member of the Perseverance Rover Mission science team and was a member of the development team for the Ingenuity helicopter.  Previously, he was a science team member on the Mars Exploration Rover (Spirit & Opportunity) mission, Mars Odyssey Gamma Ray Spectrometer, and the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter High-Resolution Camera (HiRISE).  On the Mars Exploration Rover mission, he served as “Long-term Planning Lead” and downlinked information from the rovers on a daily basis from his office at the Museum.  On the Perseverance Mission he is responsible for geologic context mapping of the terrain traversed by the rover.

December 17, 2021 - 6:00pm

Come to the planetarium and hear UNM professors Diana Dragomir and Tony Hull describe how the James Webb Space Telescope was built, its novel capabilities, and what it will do once it reaches the observation point in space.  Find out more about Webb’s mission at NASA’s webpage:

This planetarium lecture and online stream is free, but registration is required for on-site attendance due to the planetarium occupancy limit of 125.  Museum doors will reopen for the talk at 5:30 p.m. (the museum will be closed from 4 to 5:30 p.m.)  If you make a reservation and then find that you cannot attend, please allow room for others by canceling your registration with an email to this address: The talk will also be streamed on Zoom, but only those who attend in person will be able to ask questions.

Reserve a free seat for the in-person event while they're still available by clicking here.

Join the free webinar by clicking here at 6 p.m. on Dec. 17.

This will be a more technical talk most appropriate for adults.  On Dec. 18, a separate museum event for families will celebrate Webb’s mission with fun activities and informational videos; click here for more information.

Dr. Diana Dragomir is an Assistant Professor in the UNM Department of Physics and Astronomy. Dr. Dragomir's research focuses on the demographics and atmospheres of exoplanets smaller than Neptune. She studies them with NASA's TESS, Spitzer, Hubble, and soon the Webb space telescopes, as well as with a variety of ground-based observatories.
Tony Hull is an Adjunct Professor of Physics and Astronomy at UNM.  He was previously the Webb telescope's Program Manager for Optical Fabrication and Director of Large Optics at L-3 Tinsley.  He was also NASA's Technologist for the Terrestrial Planet Finder Coronagraph, which was an instrument used to directly image worlds around other suns, and JPL's Principal Engineer Observational Systems and leader of Mission Instrument Concurrent Design Laboratory.

December 18, 2021 - 11:00am

Celebrate the James Webb Space Telescope's mission with local STEM experts, fun activities, and informational videos.  Discover the incredible engineering that lets this unique space observatory study the beginnings of time and look for other worlds like ours.  Table displays will be hosted by astronomy experts from UNM, a NASA Solar System Ambassador, and museum space science staff and volunteers.  Find out more about Webb’s mission at NASA’s webpage:

This is the second of two museum events related to Webb.  On the evening of Dec. 17, a more technical lecture primarily for adults will be presented by UNM astronomy researchers; find out more by clicking here.

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