The Ames Research Center Team of the NASA Astrobiology Institute cohosted the 2013 Lassen Volcanic Dark Sky Festival on August 9-11, 2013. During the three-day festival, over 45 events were held and more than 4200 visitors learned about preserving the dark sky and the study of astrobiology in the park.
The public was excited to interact with members of Ames Astrobiology Institute Team. The visitors were fascinated to learn about astrobiology and why NASA scientists study this volcanic park. The Ames Team delivered eight public lectures on the link between Lassen’s hydrothermal areas and Mars exploration. The evening “fireside chats” by Dave Des Marais, Dave Blake and Kevin Zahnle drew record-breaking crowds. Also, nearly 2000 people visited the Ames team’s astrobiology booth that featured free educational handouts, visual materials to help explain astrobiology and Mars, and demonstrations of Dave Blake’s X-ray diffraction instrument like the one on Curiosity rover.