UA to Host Special Events Tied to Asteroid Day

University Communications - June 13, 2017

A presentation at the University of Arizona on June 27 will feature six experts exploring the most up-to-date asteroid science.

Moderated by television host Geoff Notkin from the show "Meteorite Men," the event will bring together five researchers from the UA who work at the forefront of asteroid science. The presentation at the Flandrau Science Center & Planetarium is free and open to the public. Seating is limited and admittance is first-come, first-served.  

Expert presenters scheduled to participate include: 

  • Dante Lauretta, principal investigator for NASA's OSIRIS-REx mission and professor at the UA Lunar and Planetary Laboratory
  • Eric Christensen, director of the Catalina Sky Survey for Near-Earth Objects and associate staff scientist at the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory
  • Heather Enos, deputy principal investigator for the OSIRIS-REx mission
  • Vishnu Reddy, assistant professor at the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory
  • Geoff Notkin, Board of Governors, National Space Society
  • Daniella DellaGiustina, image processing lead for the OSIRIS-REx mission

The presentation will be recorded for broadcast as part of a special 24-hour Asteroid Day Live broadcast organized by the nation of Luxembourg. Flandrau Science Center will offer this live broadcast as part of its exhibits during business hours on Asteroid Day, which is June 30.

On Asteroid Day and through the weekend that follows, Flandrau Science Center & Planetarium will recognize Asteroid Day/Weekend with special activities related to asteroids and the OSIRIS-REx mission, asteroid planetarium shows, and asteroid exhibits for the public. More information is available at

To raise awareness of asteroids and the important role they have played in the evolution of the solar system and throughout Earth's history, June 30 is designated annually as Asteroid Day. The date commemorates Earth's largest asteroid impact in recorded history, the Siberia Tunguska event, which leveled trees across 770 square miles, more than three times the area of Tucson, in 1908. 

Currently, the UA leads the OSIRIS-REx mission, an $800 million NASA mission that will bring back a sample from the asteroid Bennu. The UA also has the most internationally active program to identify and track Near-Earth Objects, or NEOs. More than half of all known near-Earth asteroids and comets have been discovered by the UA.