The influence of asteroids and comets on life on Earth will be the topic of two free, public lectures entitled "Comets, Asteroids and the Interplanetary Shooting Gallery" at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory on Thursday, June 20, and at Pasadena City College on Friday, June 21.
Dr. Don Yeomans, head of NASA's Near Earth Objects program office, will discuss how comets and asteroids brought the building blocks of life to the young Earth and how later impacts caused worldwide extinctions. He will also describe steps being taken today to detect potentially hazardous comets and asteroids.
Liquid water, carbon-based molecules and a relatively stable environment are critical elements for life. Comets and asteroids can bring water and the chemicals on which life is based, but can also bring widespread destruction. If future impacts are inevitable, what should we do?
Both lectures begin at 7 p.m. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. The JPL lecture will be webcast live and will be available after the event at http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/events/lectures/jun02.html .
The lecture at JPL, located at 4800 Oak Grove Dr., Pasadena, off the Oak Grove Drive exit of the 210 (Foothill) Freeway, will be held in the von Karman Auditorium. The Friday lecture will be held in Pasadena City College's Vosloh Forum at 1570 E. Colorado Blvd.
For more information, visit http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/events/lectures/jun02.html or call (818) 354-0112. JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.