Link Observatory Space Science Institute to Host Asteroid Presentation at Mooresville Public Library

By | June 20, 2017

Morgan County, IN – With International Asteroid Day coming up June 30th, the Link Observatory Space Science Institute is hosting a presentation on Saturday, June 24th at 8:00 p.m. at the Mooresville Public Library. The Institute will share the fascinating story of the threat we may someday face and how we are developing new technologies to defend Planet Earth.

“Asteroids the size of Mount Everest have impacted our planet in the past and Planet Earth could be a target once again,” said Kurt Williams, the Institute’s Deputy Director. “So how do we detect and minimize the threat these asteroids present?”

On February 15, 2013, a giant meteor measuring 65 feet in diameter with a mass of nearly 10,000 tons entered Earth’s atmosphere over Chelyabinsk, Russia at speeds over 41,000 mph. The light from the meteor was brighter than the Sun, and was observed over a wide area of the region and in neighboring republics. Some eyewitnesses also felt intense heat from the fireball.

It exploded at an altitude of 14 miles with a force equal to 30 Hiroshima nuclear bombs and caused a series of shock waves that shattered windows, damaged approximately 7,200 buildings, and left 1,500 people injured. The resulting fragments were scattered over a 100-mile wide area. Fortunately, it exploded in the atmosphere prior to impacting the surface.

“Just look at the mile-wide Meteor Crater in Arizona and you will understand that the direct impact of even a relatively small asteroid can cause great devastation,” said Williams.

During this free presentation, audience members will discover:

  • Where asteroids come from and how they are detected
  • Fascinating facts on the history of large impacts on Earth
  • New technologies being developed to protect the planet

They will also learn about Indiana University’s Asteroid Program that took place at the Link Observatory from 1949 – 1967. During that time, over 90% of all asteroids discovered worldwide were found at the observatory in Martinsville, IN.

This free program will take place in the Mooresville Public Library Community Room at 220 W Harrison St, in Mooresville, IN. Night sky observation, weather permitting, will be available via shuttle to the historic Link Observatory after the presentation.

The library programs are free because of generous support from local businesses and individuals. To continue these and other programs presented by the Link Observatory Space Science Institute, please visit www.LinkObservatory.org/support.

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The mission of the Link Observatory Space Science Institute is to advance scholastic literacy of future generations with informal STEM education focused on NASA missions, astronomy, and space exploration; to foster scientific curiosity and advance science literacy to cultivate and nurture the next generation of leaders. Its vision is to share the wonders of the universe in ways that excite, inspire, challenge, and educate.