Who among us has not looked up into the night sky and wondered: What's out there? How did it begin and where is it going? And most importantly, how does our planet fit into the vastness of the cosmos? The John McConnell Math & Science Center, in partnership with the Museum of Western Colorado, is exploring these questions through a new series of lectures that are open to the public. A "star-studded" line up of scientists and engineers will be the featured speakers for this once-a-month series that takes place at the Whitman Educational Center on the second Thursday evening of the month.Amateur astronomers, aspiring astrophysicists, and wanna-be astronauts will learn about such cosmic phenomena as asteroids (weapons of mass destruction?), space weather and sun spots, exploration of Mars and other planets, astrobiology and extraterrestrial life, and the known universe as seen through the Hubble Space Telescope.The speakers are professors and researchers from Colorado Mesa University, The Space Engineering Department and the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics at CU-Boulder, and the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. Former NASA astronaut Dr. Mary Cleaves will also share her experiences as a mission specialist on Space Shuttle flights that took place in 1985 and 1989. During these flights, Dr. Cleaves logged a total of 10 days, 22 hours, 2 minutes, 24 seconds in space, orbited earth 172 times, and traveled 3.94 million miles. This series started last month with a presentation by retired space systems engineer, Allan Conrad, that retraced the history of early unmanned space missions. Conrad, a longtime volunteer with the Math & Science Center, talked about the America's early successes and failures and his work with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. Coming up Thursday, March 14, Dr. Jared Workman, assistant professor of physics at Colorado Mesa University, will be talking about "Cosmology: The Evolutionary Biology of the Cosmos." Workman uses computer simulations to study high energy astrophysical phenomena, including gamma ray bursts, solar flares and astrophysical explosions, the physical processes that create and sustain the components of our universe. His talk will provide a broad overview of the history, meaning, future and most interesting current problems in the field of cosmology, the study of the origins and eventual fate of the universe. Cosmology is concerned with the universe as a whole, while astronomy deals with individual celestial objects.As we know, the study of the universe has a long history, involving science, philosophy and religion. (Workman happens to have degrees in both psychology and physics.)According to second century Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius: "He who does not know what the world is does not know where he is, and he who does not know for what purpose the world exists, does not know who he is, nor what the world is."Join the John McConnell Math & Science Center and the Museum of Western Colorado as we embark on our exploration of "Space: The Last Frontier!"