The first Stardust-R public lecture “EXPLORING ASTEROIDS AND COMETS” took place at the Planetarium in Glasgow Science Centre on 7th December 2019.
Since the beginning of the Space Age, humans have been using robotic spacecraft to explore the Solar System. More recently, space agencies around the world have used these remarkable craft to explore not just planets and moons, but smaller bodies like asteroids and comets. These objects act as time capsules, holding important clues to the early days of the Solar System, and in the future the resources found on them could be vital in human exploration beyond Earth.
Dr. Roberto Furfaro, Professor and Director of the Space Situational Awareness Arizona Initiative, presented the challenges involved in sending spacecraft to these small bodies, explained why we want to understand them better, and how we might even bring a sample of one back to Earth. Full recording of the lecture can be watched by following the link below.
Roberto Furfaro is currently Assistant Research Professor in the Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering Department, University of Arizona. He has a large spectrum of research interests, which includes neutron and photon computational transport, neural and fuzzy systems, space systems and micro-satellite design. Over the past few years, he has been collaborating with Ecosystem Science and Technology branch at NASA Ames on the “NASA Coffee Project” in which he led the development of an intelligent algorithm for coffee ripeness prediction using UAV airborne images. He has had a long-term involvement with Mars exploration since 1998 when he joined the NASA SERC at University of Arizona to become the project manager for the development of two robotic devices designed to utilize Martian local resources. Recently, he has been working developing of novel engineering solutions for planetary exploration including fuzzy-based expert systems for autonomous life-searching in extraterrestrial bodies.