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NASA to land in Cook County, Minnesota, for Dark Sky Festival Dec. 8-10, 2022

Nov 15, 2022 11:20AM ● By Content Editor
Photo: Ryan Hutton 

From Visit Cook County - November 15, 2022

Cook County, Minn. – November 15, 2022 – The moon isn’t the only place NASA is going in the future. The independent agency of the US federal government responsible for the civil space program, aeronautics research, and space research is also coming to northern Minnesota for Cook County’s upcoming Dark Sky Festival.

The festival will return Dec. 8-10 and celebrates the area’s world-class dark sky with programs, activities, dinners and more.

Andrea Jones, NASA’s Public Engagement Lead of the Solar System Exploration Division at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, will present “From Iceland to the Moon: Working with NASA Scientists and Astronauts in the Land of Fire and Ice” at Gunflint Lodge on Dec. 8 and “Building on Apollo and Preparing for Artemis with NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter” on Dec. 10 at the Grand Marais Art Colony’s Studio 21.

Jones will also lead an activity – “From the Earth to the Moon: Touchdown!” – where attendees can build their own lunar lander at Studio 21 on Dec. 10.

Also joining the schedule is space and travel writer Valerie Stimac, author of Lonely Planet’s “Dark Skies: A Practical Guide to Astrotourism,” who will present “Dark Sky Crusader: Becoming an Ambassador for the Stars” at Gunflint Lodge on Dec. 9.

The evening of Dec. 10 will include a screening of the new documentary “Northern Nights, Starry Skies” at Grand Portage National Monument’s Heritage Center. The documentary explores the movement to reduce light pollution through the creation of Dark Sky Places, with a focus on northern Minnesota. It is co-produced by Grand Portage-based dark sky photographer Travis Novitsky, Hamline University’s Center for Global Environmental Education and WDSE/PBS. In conjunction with the screening and the festival, the Heritage Center will open an exhibit that will feature the work of Novitsky and Carl Gawboy.

Northern Minnesota was named one of the “25 amazing journeys for 2022” by National Geographic because of the region’s lack of light pollution and dark skies.

In 2020, the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness was named one of now only 16 International Dark Sky Sanctuaries in the world

The weekend will be full of other programs that are free but with limited capacity. Free tickets are offered for presentations and early sign-up is recommended.

Find full schedule, details and free tickets at www.visitcookcounty.com/darkskyfestival 

THURSDAY, DEC. 8
5:30 p.m. | Dark Skies Dinner | Justine's at Gunflint Lodge
7 p.m. | From Iceland to the Moon: Working with NASA Scientists and Astronauts in the Land of Fire and Ice | Gunflint Lodge, Gunflint Trail (Masks Highly Encouraged for this Presentation)

FRIDAY, DEC. 9
4 p.m. | Dark Sky Crusader: Becoming an Ambassador for the Stars with Valerie Stimac | Gunflint Lodge, Gunflint Trail
5:30 p.m. | Dark Skies Dinner | Justine's at Gunflint Lodge
7:30 p.m. | Star Party! With Marshall W. Alworth Planetarium | Voyageur Brewing Company

SATURDAY, DEC. 10
11 a.m. - 2 p.m. | ACTIVITY: “From the Earth to the Moon: Touchdown!” - Build Your Own Lunar Lander with NASA | Studio 21, Grand Marais (Masks Highly Encouraged for this Activity)
2 p.m. | USFS Presentation | Johnson Heritage Post, Grand Marais
4 p.m. | Building on Apollo and Preparing for Artemis with NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter | Studio 21, Grand Marais (Masks Highly Encouraged for this Presentation)
7:30 p.m. | Screening of New Documentary & Exhibit Opening of "Northern Nights, Starry Skies" | Heritage Center at Grand Portage National Monument
9:30 p.m. | Night Sky Walk & Telescope Viewing | Pincushion Mountain Trailhead, Grand Marais

To schedule an interview with NASA’s Andrea Jones or author Valerie Stimace, contact Nick Cusick, Events and Marketing Coordinator for Visit Cook County at [email protected]
 

About Visit Cook County 
Visit Cook County encompasses the northeastern Minnesota communities of Lutsen, Tofte, Schroeder, Grand Marais, the Gunflint Trail and Grand Portage, commonly referred to as “the Arrowhead” and the “North Shore of Lake Superior”.  Grand Marais, Minn., has earned several national accolades -- most recently it was named USA Today’s Best Midwestern Small Town, Outside Magazine’s The 16 Best Places to Live in the U.S. 2016, and Budget Travel’s 2015 Coolest Small Town in America. Rekindle your sense of adventure by exploring the Superior National Forest or paddling through the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Discover what makes the communities of Cook County, Minn. “Naturally Unforgettable.” Connect on social media using #donorthmn, Twitter @CookCoVisitors, Facebook, or Instagram @donorthmn. Learn more at www.visitcookcounty.com