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Life on Other Worlds to be first National Geographic Live virtual event presented by The Mendel Center

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December 29, 2020
BENTON HARBOR, MI – As an official venue partner of the National Geographic Live speaker series, The Mendel Center at Lake Michigan College in Benton Harbor is offering the first of three virtual events on Tuesday, January 19, 2021, at 7 pm with Life on Other Worlds.
 
How close are we to discovering life on other planets? NASA’s Perseverance rover is due to land on Mars in 2021 to search for signs of ancient life and collect rock and soil samples for possible return to Earth. Jupiter’s moon Europa is home to a vast subsurface ocean—a body of water that could sustain primitive forms of life on this alien world nearly 600 million miles from our planet. Join planetary scientist and astrobiologist Kevin Peter Hand and NASA engineer Kobie Boykins for the latest intriguing updates on this vast frontier of exploration.
 
About the speakers
Kevin Peter Hand is a planetary scientist and astrobiologist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California. His work focuses on the origin, evolution, and distribution of life in the solar system and involves research on the physics and chemistry of icy moons in the outer solar system with an emphasis on Jupiter’s second large moon, Europa. Hand has served on NASA’s Science Definition Teams for Europa Flagship missions and is helping lead the effort to someday land on Europa. His work has taken him from the depths of the oceans to the summit of Kilimanjaro, and from the Arctic to Antarctica.
 
Kobie Boykins is a principal mechanical engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California. In more than twenty-five years at the lab, he has worked on the Pathfinder mission, built the solar arrays for the Mars Exploration Rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, led the mobility and remote sensing teams for the Mars Science Laboratory Rover, Curiosity, and is serving as Chief Engineer on the Europa Clipper team. In 2013, Boykins received a NASA Exceptional Service Medal, one of the highest honors given to NASA employees and contractors.
 
The National Geographic Live speaker series delivers behind-the-scenes stories, stunning imagery, and gripping footage from world-renowned photographers, scientists, authors, filmmakers, conservationists, and adventurers. While Nat Geo Live speakers are normally brought to venues in person, only live virtual events will be offered in early 2021 due to COVID-19.
 
A flexible registration pricing range of $15 - $25 per event allows participants to support the series as they are able while making these presentations accessible and affordable. Online passes are available for purchase at www.TheMendelCenter.com or by calling the box office at 269-927-8700, option 1, Mondays through Thursdays from 2 to 6 p.m. At this time, walk-in box office hours are not available in the interest of the health and safety of patrons and staff.
 
Other upcoming National Geographic Live virtual events presented by The Mendel Center include Scientific Exposure on Tuesday, February 9, 7 pm, and Feats in Filmmaking on Tuesday, March 16, 7 pm.
 
The National Geographic Live virtual event series is supported by The Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs. It is also supported by the Gast Young People’s Performance Endowment.
 
About The Mendel Center at Lake Michigan College
The Mendel Center raised the curtain on its first Mainstage season performance in the fall of 1992. Since that time, it has presented Mainstage season performances to more than half a million patrons in the 1,559-seat Mendel Center Mainstage Theatre. Newly renovated Grand Upton Hall, first opened in 1979, is a 13,700-square-foot venue serving the community as the host site for meetings, banquets, trade shows, weddings, and other celebrations. The 229-seat Hanson Theatre is home to the Lake Michigan College Visual & Performing Arts Departments as well as a variety of Mendel Center and community events.
 
The Mendel Center is 30 minutes from Niles and 40 minutes from the Kalamazoo and South Bend areas. It is located on the Lake Michigan College campus at 2755 E. Napier Avenue, Benton Harbor, Michigan, one mile east of I-94 (Exit 30) and one mile west of the US 31 Bypass (exit 24). Its GPS mapping address is 1100 Yore Avenue, Benton Harbor, MI.
 
Find #TheMendelCenter online at:
      Facebook @MendelCenter
      Instagram @TheMendelCenter
      www.TheMendelCenter.com
 
Mendel Center Season Sponsors
Stage Side: The Boulevard Inn & Bistro, Honor Credit Union, The Inn at Harbor Shores, Kruggel Lawton CPAs, Meijer, Southwestern Michigan Tourist Council, Spectrum Health Lakeland, TCF Bank, TPC Technologies.
 
Platinum: B&L Information Systems, Berrien Community Foundation, Citadel Dance and Music Center, Hungerford Nichols CPAs + Advisors, Insurance Management Services, Pier 33, Siena Heights University
 
Gold: Beaudoin Electrical Construction, Inc., Hanson Group, Holt Bosse, Horizon Bank, Metzger Insurance Agency, Silver Beach Pizza, Southshore Concert Band, Studio 807.