The Orion multi-purpose crew vehicle. NASA photo

Comic-Con may be better known for science fiction than fact, but this year NASA will host a panel with moon-walking astronaut Buzz Aldrin on the agency’s plans for exploration to an asteroid and ultimately Mars.

On Thursday, July 24 at 3 p.m., which is the 45th anniversary of Apollo 11‘s return to Earth, the agency will host a panel discussion titled “NASA’s Next Giant Leap” at Comic-Con International at the San Diego Convention Center.

Apollo 11 was the first mission to land on the Moon, and Aldrin was the pilot of the lunar module.

The panel discussion marks the first time that NASA has officially participated in Comic-Con.

Moderated by actor Seth Green, the panel will include Aldrin, NASA Planetary Science Division Director Jim Green, Jet Propulsion Laboratory systems engineer Bobak Ferdowsi, and NASA astronaut Mike Fincke.

The panel will discuss the Orion multi-purpose crew vehicle and the Space Launch System rocket, which are designed to carry humans beyond low-earth orbit to asteroids and ultimately Mars.

Orion’s first flight test, called Exploration Flight Test-1, is scheduled for later this year atop a Delta IV Heavy rocket from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. This test will evaluate launch and high speed re-entry systems such as avionics, attitude control, parachutes and the heat shield.

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.

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