Martz-Kohl Observatory Welcomes Man Who Lives on Mars

Daniel Kryzak, The Martian coming to Martz-Kohl.

Contributing Writer
Walt Pickut
Martz-Kohl Observatory Board of Directors

Daniel Krysak is a real Martian, or as close to one as a man can get on Earth. He operates the Mars Curiosity Rover’s “eyes”—its television cameras—on Mars every day. He will speak at the Martz-Kohl Observatory at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, August 18, via Zoom. To attend, the public is invited to visit the observatory in person at 176 Robin Hill Road in Frewsburg, NY, or to sign in from home on Zoom. Simply visit, follow the prompts, and meet Daniel. Find out what it is like to almost live on Mars.

This Zoom Webinar will give our guests a fun, in-depth look at the various cameras on board both the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Curiosity rover on the red planet, and the Juno spacecraft mission to Jupiter. Dan will show a fascinating gallery of images acquired by both spacecraft throughout their missions. He will also explain the special functions that each camera brings to the missions, and how they are all commanded from Earth.

In additional, Dan will describe what a typical day of commanding both spacecraft is like and how ground operations on a rover are different from those of an orbiting spacecraft. His program will be followed by a Q&A session for visitors who want a deeper dive into life on Mars or orbiting Jupiter.

Daniel Krysak grew up in New York State. He graduated from SUNY Potsdam with degrees in both speech communication and archaeology in 2008. He then went on to earn a Masters degree in Planetary Volcanology from the University at Buffalo in 2011. Daniel started working at his current company, Malin Space Science Systems—a San Diego, California-based private technology company that designs and operates equipment for unmanned spacecraft—in early 2012 as part of the MSL Curiosity rover operations team. In 2015, he ventured farther into the solar system by working camera operations on the Juno mission to Jupiter. In addition to operations, He has also written database and ground software for both mission’s cameras as well as Mastcam-Z and WATSON cameras on the 2020 Perseverance rover.

Coming Sky Events

On August 19: The gas-giant planet Jupiter will be at opposition. The Solar System’s largest planet will reach a point directly opposite the sun in Earth’s sky. This will coincide with its closest approach to Earth of the year. Jupiter will shine at its brightest and will be visible all night long.

On August 22, see the full moon, known as the Full Sturgeon Moon, also called a “Blue Moon,” being the third full moon in a season that has four full moons. The 22nd also marks the conjunction of the moon and Jupiter when the moon swings about 4 degrees to the south of Jupiter in the night sky.

For Rocket Launch Watchers

On August 28, SpaceX will launch a Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon cargo resupply mission to the ISS and on September 15, a SpaceX Falcon 9 and Crew Dragon spacecraft will launch the first all-civilian orbital mission, Inspiration4.

Your Observatory

MKO is your observatory because of your support. We do not charge admission, but the all-volunteer staff and members appreciate the contributions of visitors who continue to support our mission of education and exploration.

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Walt Pickut’s writing career began with publishing medical research in1971 while working at the Jersey City Medical Center and the NYU Hospital and School of Medicine. Walt holds board registries in respiratory care and sleep technology as well as bachelor's degrees in biology and communication, and a master's degrees in physiology from Fairleigh-Dickinson University in New Jersey, with additional graduate work in mass communication completed at SUNY Amherst. He currently teaches Presentational Speaking in the Houghton College PACE program at JCC and holds memberships in the Society of Professional Journalists and the American Society of Business Publication Editors. He lives in Jamestown with his wife Nancy, an MSW social worker, and has three children: Dr. Cait Lamberton in Pittsburgh, Bill Pickut, a marketing executive in Chicago, and Rev. Matt Pickut in Plymouth, IN.