“Where do we come from? Are we alone? What will become of us?”
Those were just some of the thought-provoking questions raised and explored Jan. 16 during a special film screening and panel discussion of “Above and Beyond: NASA’s Journey to Tomorrow,” which was hosted by the Upper School Science Department in the Community Room.
The panel featured Crossroads parents Rory Kennedy and Mark Bailey, who produced, directed, wrote and narrated the documentary to examine humankind’s interest in outer space and our unique existence on Earth.
Attendees also heard from Crossroads alumnus Matthew Frost ’91, a Jet Propulsion Laboratory robotics engineer who programs parts for NASA’s Mars rovers. The discussion was moderated by Upper School science teacher Steve Lux.
The screening provided viewers with a summary of NASA projects, including moon landings, the Voyager spacecraft, Hubble Space Telescope, Mars rovers and the search for life on other planets.
“We often do not know what benefits await us,” Rory narrates during the film, echoing words from the famous “We choose to go to the moon” speech delivered by her uncle, President John F. Kennedy, in 1962.
The filmmakers also wanted to spotlight NASA’s efforts to understand Earth. The agency has examined the effects of melting ice on ocean salinity and the impacts of carbon emissions on the ozone layer, which protects our planet from the Sun.
Through “Above and Beyond,” Rory and Mark bring attention to changes in Earth’s delicate atmospheric and surface conditions, which scientists say have occurred as a result of human activity.
“We should try to fix the planet we have,” Matthew said.