Southwestern Oregon Community College’s popular Geology Lecture Series goes out of this world with Dr. Carolyn Porco, speaking about “Cassini to Saturn: The Journey and the Legacy” at 7 p.m., Saturday, May 20, 2017 at the Hales Center for Performing Arts. Dr. Porco is the lead imaging scientist of the Cassini Project to Saturn. She earned a bachelor’s of science degree from Stony Brook University in New York and a Ph.D. from California Institute of Technology. Dr. Porco has co-authored more than 120 papers in leading scientific journals. Her popular science writings have appeared in such distinguished publications as the London Sunday Times, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, the Guardian, Astronomy magazine, the PBS and BBC websites, the Arizona Daily Star, Sky and Telescope, Scientific American, and American Scientist. She has presented at such renowned cross-disciplinary conferences as TED (2009, 2007) and PopTech (2006, 2005). The American Astronomical Society for Excellence in the Communication of Science honored Dr. Porco with the Carl Sagan Medal in 2010. In 2012, she was named one the 25 most influential people in space by TIME magazine. She was a consultant on the 1997 Robert Zemeckis movie Contact, based on a novel by Carl Sagan. Lead actress Jodie Foster was reportedly advised by Sagan to base her performance in the film on Porco.  In 2008, she was invited by J.J. Abrams, the director/producer of the 2009 release, Star Trek, to join the film’s production crew as a consultant on planetary imagery.  Since 2015, Dr. Porco has been a visiting distinguished scholar at UC Berkeley and a fellow of the California Academy of Sciences.  Additionally, she is the namesake of Asteroid (7231) Porco, which was named to honor her work in planetary science. Porco’s impressive accomplishments include work as an imaging scientist for the Voyager program, which sent two probes to the outer solar system in 1977. She also served as an associate member of the New Horizons mission to Pluto and leads the imaging science team for the Cassini mission currently in orbit around Saturn. In this Geology Lecture Series presentation, Porco will discuss her role as the leader of the imaging science team on Cassini with a retrospective look at what has been learned from this profoundly successful mission and what its final legacy will be. Her work in the Saturnian system is extensive. She is an expert on Saturn’s rings, as well as its icy moon Enceladus, whose geysers supply much of the material for one of the planet’s many rings. In 2013 a prediction made by Porco two decades earlier was confirmed when Cassini data showed that acoustic oscillations within the planet create features in its rings. The international mission to explore the Saturnian system – the planet and its magnetosphere, glorious rings, and many moons — began more than 26 years ago.  After seven years of development, the U.S. launched the Cassini spacecraft in 1997. Following a seven-year trek to Saturn, it finally entered Saturn orbit and has since returned more than a dozen years’ worth of insights on the solar system’s most splendid and scientifically rich planetary system.  In less than a year, its mission will be over and Cassini will be sent plunging into Saturn. Join us in the lobby before and after Dr. Porco’s talk with representatives from the following groups starting at 6:30 pm:  The Stallknecht Rock Museum; The Charleston Marine Life Center; Coos Watershed Association and South Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve. All geology talks are free and are held in the Hales Center for the Performing Arts on Southwestern’s Coos Campus, 1988 Newmark Ave., Coos Bay.  For those not able to attend in person, all lectures are Livestreamed and archived, (except this May 20th lecture which will only be Livestreamed and not archived) with access from the College’s website at Sponsors of this lecture include The Mill Casino Hotel & RV Park, DB Western, the Southwestern Foundation and the College. For additional information please contact Ron Metzger at 541-888-7216.