492K views Mar 2017
In our cosmic backyard, close to Earth, discoveries await us.
by Carrie Nugent
Carrie Nugent is an asteroid hunter -- part of a group of scientists working to map our cosmic neighborhood. Why keep an eye out for asteroids? Just a single collision could alter life on earth forever. But today, we have the technology to not only find these objects, but to prevent such an incredible natural disaster.
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Join Dr. Carrie Nugent on an adventure deep into asteroid country. She’ll reveal what known impact asteroids have had: the extinction of the dinosaurs, the earth-sized scar Shoemaker Levy 9 left in Jupiter, how the surprise hit on Chelyabinsk in Russia startled the world, and how unlucky Ms. Anne Hodges had the extraordinary experience of being struck by a small meteorite.
Through Dr. Nugent’s journey, readers will meet the global community of asteroid hunters and learn their key rules for asteroid hunting. Ultimately, Dr. Nugent proves that even the most fantastical of disasters is something we can prepare for, and that the hunt for asteroids could mean nothing less than saving life on Earth.
Dr. Carrie Nugent is an asteroid hunter who works with a small team to discover and study asteroids at Caltech/IPAC. Dr. Nugent earned her PhD in Geophysics and Space Physics from UCLA in 2013 and is a 2016 TED Fellow. Specializing in thermophysical modeling, Dr. Nugent uses observations from the spacebased infrared telescope NEOWISE to better understand asteroid surfaces. Asteroid 8801 Nugent was named in her honor.
In her free time, Dr. Nugent hosts and produces Spacepod. On this weekly podcast, she invites astronomers, planetary scientists, and engineers to sit, share a drink, and tell the world about their corner of the cosmos.