Astrophiz 87: Prof Jonti Horner – Exobiology Pt3

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Astrophiz 87: Professor Jonti Horner – Exobiology Part 3

‘Habitability, planet-killing asteroids  and meteor showers’
AKA ’The slowest game of chess that’s ever been played’

+ ‘What’s Up Doc’ with Dr Ian ‘Astroblog’ Musgrave.


In Part 3 of an extended three part interview, our featured guest is again Professor Jonti Horner,  the Professor of Astrophysics at the University of Southern Queensland in Australia. With thousands of citations, he is an esteemed Astronomer and Astrobiologist who researches Exoplanets, Exoplanet Habitability and the evolution of our Solar system. Jonti has lead the construction of the newly commissioned MINERVA-Australis exoplanet search and follow-up facility at the USQ Mt. Kent Observatory.
In todays episode we hear about how the media needs to stop speculating about Earth II until we actually find one, and how often we can expect meteor impacts on earth cities. Jonti explains the origins and causes of meteor showers
In ‘What’s Up Doc’ our regular host Dr Ian Musgrave tells us what observers and astrophotographers can look for in the skies for the next two weeks.
In the News:
.1. Ironically, given Jonti’s presentation today about rogue asteroids, we hear that we had a ‘near-miss’ asteroid transit between the earth and the moon’s orbit, which was not detected till *after* the fly-by.
.2. MINERVA-Australis exoplanet search and follow-up facility at the USQ Mt. Kent Observatory. is commissioned.
.3. India’s Chandrayaan-2 mission is now on its way to the moon, but it has a slow journey ahead: The rover and lander won’t touch down until early September. The slow, round-about route that Chandrayaan-2 will follow to reach the moon reflects the power of the Indian rocket used to launch the spacecraft, called the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark-III. That rocket doesn’t carry the same amount of thrust as the giant Saturn V rockets that drove NASA’s Apollo program — and no surprise, since those U.S. boosters were the most powerful rockets ever built. The Apollo missions were also designed to carry astronauts, while Chandrayaan-2 is a smaller, uncrewed mission.  In related news, Dr Horner was called on by Australia’s media to explain why the mysterious lights in the sky seen from the Australian outback were not UFOs or aliens as claimed on social media. It was actually the Indian moon rocket doing it’s lunar injection burn to escape earth’s gravity on its historic journey. LOL

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