COC’s Spring Star Party to return April 12

Attendees could look through two satelittes to see Saturn or Jupiter and three of its moons on Friday, Nov. 3. Habeba Mostafa/ The Signal
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News release 

The College of the Canyons Canyon Country campus will host its spring 2024 Star Party, a part of its Science Talks series, featuring a presentation by the engineer who oversaw development of the Ingenuity Mars helicopter. 

The event is scheduled 6:30 to 10 p.m. April 12 at the upper plaza between the new Don Takeda Science Center and Student Services & Learning Resources Center. 

J. (Bob) Balaram, an inventor and retired chief engineer of the Mars Ingenuity Project  at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, will discuss the development and operations of the Mars helicopter and the implications for future exploration of the Red Planet in his presentation, “The Ingenuity Mars Helicopter – Humanity’s First Flight on Another Planet.” 

“We are very excited about our upcoming spring Science Talk Star Party, which has become a family favorite in the community over the years,” Ryan Theule, vice president of the Canyon Country campus, said in a news release. “We are looking forward to hearing Dr. Bob Balaram speak about his work on the Mars Ingenuity Project.” 

As the originator of the concept that became the Ingenuity helicopter on Mars, Balaram served as the project’s chief engineer during its development, test and operations. He has also served as the initiative lead for a Strategic Research and Technology Development effort to develop science helicopters on Mars as a follow-up to the success of Ingenuity, the release said. 

The Star Party will feature the opportunity for participants to observe the night sky through telescopes with the help of local community astronomy clubs. The evening will also include science updates by COC faculty and students, such as the COC Aerospace and Sciences Team, as well as activity tables and demonstrations.  

“Join us for a fun and educational evening full of science for all ages,” Anthony Michaelides, dean of campus services and operations at the Canyon Country campus, said in the release. “There will be plenty to see, do and hear, along with a food truck offering food for purchase.” 

The event is free and open to the public. For more information about the Spring 2024 Star Party, visit the Canyon Country campus website at 

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