The project's purpose was to honor a revolutionary thinker and scientist in space science and rename a NASA mission.
The project's was to honor Dr. Eugene Parker, his scientific legacy, his family and the University of Chicago community through renaming a NASA mission after him. It was an unprecedented event marking the first time NASA has ever named a mission after a living individual.
The project's focus was to highlight the science, innovation and upcoming launch of the now Parker Solar Probe in July 2018. The mission itself was initially imagined as a response to many of Dr. Parker's science including being the first to detect and theorize the nature of the solar wind. His research fundamentally changed and informed how we understand space.
The project was implemented at the University of Chicago, which is the institution from which Dr. Parker retired and where he spent much of his career.
The project culminated in a nationally televised re-naming ceremony including presentations by top leadership from NASA, the University of Chicago and the John Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. A reception with interactive outreach experiences like virtual reality and a demo using a replica of the spacecraft heat shield (that included a blow torch!) followed the renaming ceremony. A panel discussion with scientific leads from the mission team was held with University of Chicago professors and students the day before the ceremony and short, "flash talks" with mission leads occurred at the Adler Museum and the Museum of Science.
I played a fundamental role in supporting the project as the NASA liaison, coordinator, and point of contact. I was brought on to support the project while it was still just an idea. I helped conceptualize the project's vision and focus and helped create and source material for the NASA presentations and media used during the event. I coordinated details and logistics for the renaming ceremony, the interactive reception and the educational outreach events before and after the ceremony. I also coordinated travel and schedules.