Silicon Valley Astronomy Lecture Series: Rubble Piles in the Sky: The Science, Exploration, and Danger of Near-Earth Asteroids

Silicon Valley Lecture Series

Tags: Silicon Valley Astronomy Lecture Series, Asteroids, Comets, Meteors, and Asteroids, Solar System, Planetary Exploration

Time: Wednesday, Apr 18, 2018 -

Location: Foothill College, Los Altos Hills, CA

This Silicon Valley Astronomy Lecture Series event has passed, but a video of the lecture can be found here.

Dr. Michael Busch, of the SETI Institute, will give a free, illustrated, non-technical talk

Near-Earth asteroids are a population of small bodies whose orbits around the Sun cross or come near our planet’s orbit.  They turn out to be unusual physical environments: rubble piles, with shapes and spins determined by effects like the pressure of the Sun’s radiation.  Near-Earth asteroids are also accessible targets for spacecraft missions.  And they represent a natural hazard we ignore at our peril, because some of these bodies have the potential to impact Earth.  Dr. Busch will review the near-Earth population, programs to track and characterize as many near-Earth asteroids as possible, and current efforts to address the danger of asteroid impacts.

Michael Busch is a planetary astronomer based at the SETI Institute in Mountain View, California.  His research focuses on characterizing near-Earth asteroid shapes, spins, and motions using radar and radio techniques.  He obtained his PhD in planetary science at Caltech, and worked as a postdoc at UCLA and at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory before starting as a research scientist at SETI in 2013.