Asteroid Day

Come celebrate International Asteroid Day at Flandrau! On Sunday, June 30, we'll have two special asteroid presentations (free!), hands-on activities, and a special screening of the fulldome planetarium show ASTEROID: MISSION EXTREME. Along with the free presentations, we’ll offer special discounted admission prices: $5 for exhibits, $5 for planetarium shows.

At 2pm, the first of the two special presentations, OSIRIS-REx team member Dolores Hill will be talking about all the new science that has been discovered since the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft reached Bennu, its target asteroid. UA leads the OSIRIS-REx mission for NASA. This groundbreaking mission will grab a sample from Bennu and bring it back to Earth for analysis. Never before has a NASA mission returned a sample from an asteroid. That sample will be a scientific time capsule from 4.5 billion years ago, and  may hold answers about the origins of our solar system! 

Hill will explain the surprising science we’ve learned since the spacecraft arrived at Bennu in December 2018, and the next steps for sample acquisition. Mission scientists and engineers are working together to carefully select a site for the 5-second "touch-and-go" collection of material that will return to Earth in 2023. 

At 4pm, the second of the two special presentations, will feature author Gordon Dillow giving a presentation titled “Cosmic Collisions, Killer Asteroids, and the Race To Defend the Earth” based his new book Fire in the Sky. You’ll learn how scientists discover and track asteroids in the effort to protect our Earth. Dillow’s presentation will be followed by a book signing. Fire in the Sky books will be available for purchase. Did you know that there are more than 17,000 Near Earth Objects (NEOs) that fly close to the Earth at some point in their orbit? All those NEOs are asteroids, and more than half of them were discovered by the Catalina Sky Survey based right here at the University of Arizona! 

Visitors will also learn about these fascinating space rocks through special guided asteroid activities that educate and entertain, alongside exhibits about asteroids and an array of meteorite specimens (meteorites are small asteroids that have fallen to Earth). 

Presentations, activities, exhibits, and a special planetarium show, it all adds up to an asteroid extravaganza. Plus, guests can enjoy Flandrau’s new Sharks exhibit and inspiring planetarium shows.

Come join us to celebrate asteroids with cool science on a hot day!


June 30, 2019 12:00pm to 5:00pm