April 24, 2018

Jessica Pope
Communications and Media Relations Coordinator

VSU Planetarium Presents Defending Earth April 27

VALDOSTA — The Valdosta State University Planetarium will present Defending Earth at 7 p.m., 8 p.m., and 9 p.m. on Friday, April 27. This presentation is free of charge and open to the public.

VSU’s Department of Physics, Astronomy, and Geosciences provided the following synopsis: “Defending Earth discusses the possibility of asteroid impacts, preventing contamination by returned samples from other solar system bodies, and preventing our own contamination of other bodies in our solar system.

“The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has a Planetary Defense Coordination Office and, with partners around the world, it monitors the sky, identifying and characterizing material that might hit the planet, assessing the danger, and educating the public. Earth collects about 80 to 100 tons of debris a day from space. Although most of that debris is very small, some objects are large enough to be seen as fireballs, and some are large enough to explode in the atmosphere or hit the surface.

“Contamination by foreign materials is also an issue. The Apollo astronauts were quarantined on return from the moon, but moon dust made its way to Earth anyway. Some meteorites come from the moon, Mars, and perhaps other solar system bodies.

“In order to prevent contaminating other worlds with water or prospects of life … the Cassini mission was terminated by plunging it into Saturn’s atmosphere. The Marshall Space Flight Center’s Meteoroid Environment Office monitors impacts on the moon, assessing possible damage to our satellites.”

Seating for each of the three presentations is limited to 47 guests. Free admission tickets will be distributed beginning at 6 p.m. on a first-come, first-served basis at the VSU Planetarium.

The VSU Observatory will be open from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., weather permitting, allowing guests the opportunity to view the moon and stars.   

Located on the third floor of Nevins Hall, the VSU Planetarium features a Digitarium Kappa digital projector, which can reproduce the night sky as seen from anywhere on Earth or from the surface of any object in the solar system, at any time in history, past or future. This technology is the first of its kind in the world.

Limited parking will be available in front of Nevins Hall and across Patterson Street.

Planetarium public outreach shows are appropriate for children and adults ages 5 and up.

Contact VSU’s Department of Physics, Astronomy, and Geosciences at (229) 333-5752 for more information.

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