RASC Vancouver Monthly meeting (hybrid): October edition

Join us for our monthly meeting. All of our monthly meetings are free and open to the public.

Location: Room AQ 3159

Topic: Planetary Defense, or “How to Avoid Impacts and Influence Orbits”

Speaker: Jennie King

Jennie “Starstuff” King┬áis a graduate of the University of Virginia’s astronomy program. While studying astronomy and physics, she discovered her deep love of STEM education and outreach through work with the Dark Skies, Bright Kids organization. As a high school AP Physics and Engineering teacher in Denver, Colorado, she brought her love of space exploration to the classroom. Jennie became a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador in order to encourage others to explore the wonders of the cosmos with their hearts, minds and imaginations. She has hosted livestream watch parties for NASA milestones such as the Perseverance Rover landing, developed school-aged astrophysics curricula, and led interactive astronomy events for all ages. As a new Vancouver area resident, Jennie looks forward to connecting with the astronomy and STEM education communities of BC and beyond.

On September 26, 2022, a quiet binary asteroid system had a very interesting day. Didymos, the larger asteroid of the system, watched as a spacecraft deliberately slammed into its smaller moonlet, Dimorphos. Meanwhile, telescopes on Earth directed their gaze toward this event in order to witness the aftermath of the collision and to collect valuable data. This dramatic encounter, known as the DART (Double Asteroid Redirection Test), was humanity’s first test of the kinetic impactor method for asteroid deflection. Because the Didymos-Dimorphos system poses no danger to Earth, it provided a welcome opportunity to demonstrate technology that could one day save lives in the event of a real threat. This talk will address the following questions:

– What exactly were the goals of this cosmic crash test, and what have we learned from the results?
– Why do organizations like NASA invest time and resources in planetary defense?
– What comes next in humanity’s efforts to protect our home world from impacts?

About our Events:
All RASC lectures and observing events are open to the public, family friendly, and there is no charge for admission. Our organization is run entirely by volunteers who love astronomy and astrophysics. Whether you’re a complete beginner, a seasoned astronomer, or you hope to work for NASA some day, anyone fascinated by space exploration is welcome and will enjoy our events