Since spotting the first "minor planet" in 1801, astronomers have discovered more than 750,000 small rocky bodies orbiting between Mars and Jupiter. Spacecraft have seen 14 of them at close range, with NASA and Japanese sampling missions having arrived at separate destinations within the past year. And tons of "space rocks" fragments fall as meteorites onto Earth every year. Yet we really know little about asteroids — how they formed, what they're like, and when one of them might strike Earth with enough force to create widespread damage. Join a veteran space journalist to explore the science and science fiction of these rocky bodies. Examples of meteorites will be on display as well.
Kelly Beatty has been explaining the science and wonder of astronomy to the public since 1974. An award-winning writer and communicator, he specializes in planetary science and space exploration and after 43 years of pounding the keyboard as Senior Editor, he retired from full-time work in early 2018 but remains actively involved in many Sky & Telescope magazine projects and articles. Beatty enjoys sharing his passion for astronomy with a wide spectrum of audiences, from children to professional astronomers, and you'll occasionally hear his interviews and guest commentaries on National Public Radio and The Weather Channel.