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5th Meeting of the 203rd Session (2023-2024)

Avoiding Killer Asteroids

Professor Colin Snodgrass

Professor Colin Snodgrass

Professor Colin Snodgrass FRAS
Professor of Planetary Astronomy
The University of Edinburgh

On Monday 26th February 2024, at 7pm

I will describe the NASA DART mission, which successfully performed the first test of the technology to deflect an asteroid from its trajectory in September 2022. This was a 'planetary defence' mission rather than a science one, designed to practice (on a harmless asteroid) what we would do if we discovered an asteroid on a collision course with the Earth. The University of Edinburgh team supported the mission with observations of the asteroid before and after the impact, from telescopes in Chile and in Kenya, where we established a new observatory for this purpose.

Colin Snodgrass joined the University of Edinburgh as a Chancellor's Fellow in 2018, having previously worked at The Open University, the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research in Germany, and the European Southern Observatory in Chile. His PhD studies were at Queen's University Belfast. He is involved with a number of space missions, including the ESA Rosetta, Hera and Comet Interceptor missions, but his background is in observational astronomy, and in particular studying comets and asteroids with large optical telescopes.