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It's comet-y night at the Dram! We'll space you out with the odds of being hit by space junk, and send you out of this world with the possibilities of mining asteroids.
Space Junk: The Odds of Being Hit
Dr. Edmondo Minisci (Director of the Intelligent Computational Engineering Laboratory (ICE-Lab))
After polluting oceans, deserts and Antarctica, mankind is saturating the near Space with satellite and rocket junk. The effect of human activities on remote places is mostly ignored by people not directly involved in monitoring and cleaning. Those who are lucky enough to holiday on remote islands in the Indian Ocean or the Caribbean may realise our impact when they see plastic bottles floating in the sea, but what about space junk? This talk will introduce the topic of space debris re-entering Earth’s atmosphere, and guide the audience through the basic quantification of associated risks.
The Science and Engineering of Asteroids
Dr. Matteo Ceriotti (Lecturer in Space Systems Engineering)
Asteroids are mostly known for the extinction of dinosaurs, and they are periodically in the headlines for passing in the vicinity of the Earth. But are they really that dangerous? In this talk, I will try to provide a different point of view, showing how valuable asteroids can be; I will show some recent research aimed at designing future space missions for the exploration of asteroids, and the exploitation of the valuable material they contain. In the near future, we might be able to visit many of the asteroids, extract their resources and even divert them to an orbit near the Earth.