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London Calling!

Imperial College London

Debbie Lewis, one of the experts of the Asteroid Day Expert Panel (ADXP), has been involved in Asteroid Day since the beginning. Deeply committed to the cause, she is the driving force behind the organisation of an Asteroid Day UK event at the Imperial College in London.

London Programme

Asteroid Day at the Imperial College will kick off at 10 AM BST.

10.15 AM – Taking the Hit

After a short introduction by Helen Sharman, the first Briton in space, Debbie Lewis will take the stage with a presentation title on the need for effective civil protection strategies to better respond to asteroid impacts.

10.50 AM – Asteroid Post Discovery Information  For Hazard Mitigation

Clemens Rumpf gives a talk on what sets the asteroid threat apart from other disasters: Its predictability and preventability. After an asteroid is discovered, information on it can help to minimise and mitigate its threat.

11.25 AM – AIDA – The First Asteroid Impact Mitigation Test Mission?

Listen to Simon Green talk about the joint NASA/ESA mission AIDA projected to test a kinetic impactor in 2022. Learn all you need to know about spacecraft used, the mission status, motivation behind it, and its importance for planetary defence.

12.00 PM – “We’re All Going to Die!”

Jerry Stone on the asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs 65 million years ago and what humanity can do to escape the same fate.

2.00 PM – Dr. Brian May’s Astro Stereo Photography – Illustrated with full screen 3D Projection

After a lunch break, Denis Pellerin takes over, presenting an annotated stereoscopic picture gallery of astronomical 3-D, using a new full screen 3-D projection system. The presentation features images from the earliest lunar stereos to the most recent data from NASA and ESA mission.

2.35 PM – Amateurs and NEO Follow Up

Amateurs astronomers have been essential to confirm observations and measurements of asteroid orbits. Peter Birtwhistle explains what ever-improving professional surveys and technological advances mean for today’s amateurs.

3.10 PM – Spaceguard Centre – National Near-Earth Object Information Centre

Jonathan Tate will focus on UK-specific aspects of NEO information and observation. While Spaceguard UK and the Spaceguard Centre are established actors in the field of asteroid mitigation nowadays, it took a long political battle to get there.

3.45 PM – How to Survive an Asteroid Impact Event

Prof. Lewis Dartnell gives a lecture on the societal effects of an asteroid impact. How would society rebuild in the aftermath and what role would science play in preventing humankind from falling back into the Dark Ages?

After a Plenary Session at 4.20 PM, the Imperial College event finishes at 5.00 PM.

For more information on the speakers and individual programme points of Asteroid Day UK at the Imperial College, please have a look at this document detailing the event and its outline.


The event will take place at the Imperial College, London on Friday, June 30th from 10 AM – 5 PM BST, at the following address:

Lecture Theatre 1
Blackett Laboratory, Physics
Prince Consort Road
Kensington, London, SW7 2AZ

If you’re outside of the UK and would still love to attend an Asteroid Day event, please consult our Events section and map for more information on events near you!

If no event is taking place in your vicinity, why not tune in to Asteroid Day LIVE on June 30th? Find all the related information below:

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Dr. Ludovic Ferrière’s Hunt for Impact Craters

2013-10_Ludovic Ferrière_Expedition to the Luizi impact crater-RDCongo

In our continuing reports on Asteroid Day organisers and events, today we are highlighting the work of Dr. Ludovic Ferrière. Ludovic currently works as curator of the rock collection and co-curator of the meteorite collection at the Natural History Museum Vienna in Austria. He became interested in various kinds of rocks at a young age and has since assembled a large collection of more than a 1,000 samples. Later on, at university, his passion for meteorite impact craters was born. A passion that drives his work (and travel destinations!) until today: The avid “impact craters hunter” managed to confirm 3 of the currently 189 recognised impact structures on Earth in the last few years.

Asteroid Day 2017

In the past years, Ludovic took part in different activities with the public at the Museum in Vienna, but this year he will be in Australia attending a meeting on meteorite craters in June, and, thus, won’t able to participate in the activities in Vienna. Nevertheless, he was involved in the planning and programme of this special day in the Museum. On the 30th June itself, he will be on his way to the Wolfe Creek crater in Western Australia.

Asked about why he personally supports Asteroid Day, his answer was simple. Fascinated by asteroids and their (past) collisions with Earth, he wants to get other people excited about this topic and educate the public about previous impacts. He believes it is really important to promote asteroids and especially to raise awareness of what they are, what risks they pose – not only in the past, as in the extinction of the dinosaurs, but also in the future – and what we can do about this. But he also stresses that asteroids can tell us a lot about the universe and that there is a lot to learn from those that have struck Earth in the past. And this is where his passion for impact craters kicks back in.

Fascination with Impact Craters

Naturally, I had to ask him about what fascinates him about impact craters in particular. “Impact craters are very unique geological features that can be seen on almost all the bodies of our solar system, but on Earth they are in most cases hard to spot due to erosion or vegetal cover.” So he hunts for them across the world, “as it is a mix between a Sherlock Holmes investigation and an Indiana Jones adventure. You need to go in the field and look for unusual rocks (e.g. shatter cones). Then back in the lab you have to look at the samples under the microscope to be able to find shocked minerals – the equivalent of DNA or blood in a criminal case with no murderer to be found but the traces of an asteroid…”. To Ludovic, impact craters are great destinations to travel to, reasons to discover remote places and question their origins. “And when you find something, it is fascinating to try to reconstruct the event. First its age, then how big it was, and the effects it had.”

Impact Crater Findings

Luizi Structure in the Congo © Ludovic Ferrière

So what can we learn from impact craters?
“A lot! On other planetary bodies they give us access to rocks that would otherwise not be visible, buried hundreds of kilometres below the surface. They are also used to estimate the age of planetary surfaces!” And in the case of Martian or Lunar meteorites on Earth – pieces of rocks that were ejected from Mars or our Moon following asteroid impacts, eventually landing on Earth as a meteorite of their own –  they “allow us to investigate these rocks for free, with no need for a sample-return mission. On Earth, we can better understand the behaviour of rocks and minerals exposed to high pressures and temperatures by looking at the rocks affected by impacts. They can be used to estimate risks associated with future impacts.

And when asked why he is planning on visiting the Wolfe Creek Crater in particular, Ludovic had a surprisingly simple answer: He was going to be in Australia for the conference mentioned above anyways, and the organisers are taking the participants there. And it’s not just the Wolfe Creek Crater. Ludovic is a man on a mission: “One of my dreams is to visit all impact craters and structures on Earth. In fact all impact craters are of interest as each one is different. The target rocks differ from crater to crater and thus the setting is different. Some are old, other were formed very recently. Different erosion states allow us to see deeper into the crater in some cases.”

Ludovic’s Challenge

Clearly, Ludovic Ferrière uses his passion as an inspiration for his travels around the globe. In fact, every two years, he celebrates his birthday (the 21st October in case you want to get him a present!) at a new impact he hasn’t visited previously. This tradition started in 2013 at the Luizi Crater in the Congo (a structure that Ludovic and his team helped confirm as impact crater in 2011!). In 2015, he spent his birthday at the Jebel Waqf as Suwwan in Jordan. As for the next stop in 2017, he doesn’t have concrete plans yet. But he wants to inspire others to travel to such structures, whether abroad or near to their home, and poses a challenge to fellow asteroid aficionados: Why not travel to one such crater for Asteroid Day on 30th June and send a selfie from the impact crater in to Asteroid Day Global?

As a fan of travel destinations off the beaten path, I can only support this initiative. So what are you waiting for? You have 38 days left to plan your very own crater trip! Send your best photo to pol@asteroidday.org and we’ll publish them right here for the world to see! And if you don’t know where to find the meteorite impact structure closest to you, Ludovic’s website has a useful map available. Go explore!

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