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The Right Stuff: What it Takes to Boldly Go

Friday, May 31, 2019
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

Fifty years ago, as Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin bounced on the moon’s surface below, Apollo 11 Command Module Pilot Michael Collins briefly disappeared behind the lunar disk, becoming the first person to experience space entirely alone. As we set our sights on the stars, space travelers will need to cope with ever longer stretches—months, years, and beyond—in the lonely environs of the cosmos. What will that take? What will that be like? How will it affect who we are? Join Michael Collins and fellow astronauts for a whirlwind journey boldly going where only a handful of humans have gone before.

The Big Ideas Series is supported in part by the John Templeton Foundation.


Miles O’BrienJournalist, Producer

Miles O’Brien is a veteran award-winning journalist who focuses on science technology and aerospace. He is the science correspondent for the PBS NewsHour, a producer and director for the PBS science documentary series NOVA, and a correspondent for the PBS documentary series Frontline and the National Science Foundation Science Nation series.

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Michael CollinsAstronaut

Michael Collins flew in both the Gemini 10 and the Apollo 11 space missions in the 1960s. After retiring from NASA in 1970, he became director of the National Air and Space Museum until 1978, when he became Under Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution.

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Ariane CornellDirector of Astronaut and Orbital Sales at Blue Origin

Ariane Cornell is currently on the board of the Society of Satellite Professionals International. She has served on the board of Women in Aerospace – Europe. Previously, Cornell worked in international management consulting.

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Scott KellyAstronaut

Scott Kelly is a former military fighter pilot and test pilot, an engineer, a retired astronaut, and a retired US Navy captain. A veteran of four space flights, Kelly commanded the International Space Station (ISS) on three expeditions and was a member of the yearlong mission to the ISS.

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Leland MelvinAstronaut

A former wide receiver for the Detroit Lions, Leland Melvin is an engineer and NASA astronaut. He served on the space shuttle Atlantis as a mission specialist and was named the NASA Associate Administrator for Education in October 2010.

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