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.