Explorer Lecture with Rusty Schweickart - "The NEO Challenges: To Be or Not To Be?"
Time: Saturday, June 28, 2008 - 2:00pm - 3:30pm
Near-Earth objects (NEOs, asteroids & comets) have been impacting Earth episodically for the past 4.5 billion years. They don't hit often, but when they do they are a serious threat to life & property. Ask the dinosaurs... they lost it all. More frequently it's a city-buster and not an extinction event. What's new is that we are now able to predict these impact events decades ahead of the threat and we have the space technology needed to prevent the impact. The trick is that we have to act when it looks as though we're being threatened since it's generally too late if we wait till the last minute when we absolutely know "this one" will hit. This means we need to be prepared, and we need to be ready to make timely decisions. Complicating the matter further, "we" is not the United States, or any other space faring nation in isolation, but rather the international community. This presentation will provide an update on what astronauts and cosmonauts, along with other experts from around the world, are doing to make sure we're ready. Program is Free with Museum Admission.