NASA scientist to present Friedman Lecture in Astronomy on April 10

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — A free presentation titled "You Can't Make a Solar System without Breaking a Few Asteroids" will take place at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 10, in 100 Thomas Building on Penn State's University Park campus. The lecture will be presented by Joseph Masiero, a staff scientist at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The event is part of the 2017-18 Friedman Lecture Series in Astronomy, which is free and open to the public.

"Joe is a Penn State alum who has been searching for hazardous asteroids and studying their formation and composition since graduation," said Chris Palma, associate teaching professor of astronomy and astrophysics. "Since we are teaching more planetary science courses at Penn State, we thought inviting Joe would be a chance for us to catch up with one of our alumni and hear about his work on asteroids, which are a key focus area for NASA in the coming years."

Masiero is the deputy principle investigator for the NASA "NEOWISE" mission, which uses the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) to study near-Earth objects (NEOs). This mission has discovered more than 30,000 new asteroids, of which about 700 are classified as NEOs. Masiero is interested in how these sub-planet-sized objects give insight into how Earth and the rest of the solar system formed.

“It is amazing how much information about the distant past we can infer by studying the properties of these ancient objects,” said Palma.

Masiero earned an undergraduate degree in astronomy and astrophysics at Penn State in 2004. He completed a doctoral degree at the University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy in 2009 before moving on to the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

This presentation is hosted by the Penn State Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics and is funded by the Ronald M. and Susan J. Friedman Outreach Fund in Astronomy. Friedman is a member of the department's board of visitors.

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Last Updated April 02, 2018