LPL Newsletter: March 2018

Thursday, March 1, 2018

This month’s LPL Newsletter highlights two stories about us tracking objects smaller than anyone would have thought possible a couple of decades ago.

One is about the Catalina Sky Survey, one of our two (along with SPACEWATCH®) world-class asteroid survey programs. The unusual thing is that instead of tracking an asteroid that might come to the Earth, they’ve been tracking an automobile that’s been leaving the Earth, Elon Musk’s Tesla Roadster, en route to deep space after its launch on a SpaceX Falcon Heavy. Most of us are more fascinated by the exploration possibilities the Falcon Heavy could open up, but the CSS group saw it as a chance to track a different kind of object. The other story is about using Doppler weather radar to track meteorites closer to the surface than was ever possible with visual, or even photographic, observations, making it possible to make far more accurate predictions of where meteorites might land.

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Timothy D. Swindle, Ph.D.
Director and Department Head

UA Astronomers Track Tesla Roadster in Space

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

After the successful test launch of SpaceX's Falcon Heavy rocket, the LPL's Catalina Sky Survey tracked the rocket's payload—a Tesla Roadster—to help determine the car's course around the sun.

Rapid Detection and Recovery: The Science of Hunting Meteorites

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

LPL Assistant Professor Vishnu Reddy is leading a NASA-funded project to find freshly fallen meteorites like the one in Michigan last month.