New Orleans, Louisiana - Visitors to the 2016 ESSENCE Festival in New Orleans will have a chance to explore the universe through a range of activities, including first-ever festival stage presentations, during NASA Week, a celebration of space exploration to be held June 29-July 3, in conjunction with ESSENCE Festival, which begins June 30.

NASA activities include stage presentations by agency Administrator Charles Bolden and astronaut Victor Glover. Presentations at the Morial Convention Center, the main festival venue, include:

July 1 at 2:10 p.m. CDT: On the Shoulders of Giants – African American Pioneers in Our Nation’s Space Program. A three-person panel will discuss the historic role African Americans have played in the nation’s space exploration program on the Money and Power Stage.

July 2 at 2:10 p.m.: Reaching New Heights – A Conversation with NASA Administrator Charles Bolden and NASA Astronaut Victor Glover. Bolden and Glover will discuss their careers and NASA’s ongoing mission on the Money and Power Stage. Following the 20-minute panel discussion, Bolden will be available at the NASA booth from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. to greet visitors and sign autographs.

July 3 at 2:10 p.m.: Join the Mars Generation – Meet NASA’s Rock Stars on the Journey to Mars and Beyond. Glover will join two NASA engineers on the Money and Power Stage for a discussion about NASA’s progress on its Journey to Mars.

Visitors to the NASA booth in the Morial Convention Center can learn about NASA’s Journey to Mars, the International Space Station, the economic significance of NASA, Earth science, the solar system and NASA-sponsored education initiatives. All NASA exhibits and presentations at the convention center are free to the public.

Glover will be available at the NASA booth to sign autographs from 1 to 3 p.m. July 1, 3 to 5 p.m. July 2, and 11 a.m. to noon July 3. On July 2, Glover also will sign autographs from 11 a.m. to noon at the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, where NASA will host a variety of hands-on activities throughout the festival. Located on the second floor of the aquarium facility, the family-friendly activities are included in the price of admission to the aquarium.