“Explorer Lecture” with Rusty Schweickart: Former Apollo 9 astronaut visits Museum to discuss real efforts to protect Earth from a disastrous impact from an asteroid

SEATTLE, June 17, 2008—On June 30, 1908, a small asteroid or comet nucleus exploded over central Siberia, leveling nearly 800 square miles of forest. Called the Tunguska Event, if a similar blast were to happen over an urban area today it would cause a disaster of unprecedented proportions—the city of Seattle covers only 91 square miles. To mark the 100th anniversary of the Tunguska Event, former Apollo 9 astronaut Rusty Schweickart will lecture at the Museum on Saturday, June 28 at 2 p.m. in the William M. Allen Theater about the challenges of tracking asteroids and comets that could strike our planet and what can be done to prevent a disastrous impact.

Schweickart is the Chair of the Association of Space Explorers’ Committee on Near Earth Objects (asteroids and comets), as well as Chair of the Board of the B612 Foundation, whose stated goal is to actually change the orbit of an asteroid by 2015 in order to demonstrate that humankind can indeed protect the Earth from future asteroid impacts. “Near-Earth objects have been impacting Earth episodically for the past 4.5 billion years,” says Schweickart.  “They don’t hit often, but when they do they are a serious threat to life and property. Ask the dinosaurs… they lost it all.” 

The B612 Foundation maintains “it would be irresponsible and inexcusable for the world to face such a frightening situation without a confident answer that we can prevent it.  This scenario will occur; it is only a matter of how soon.” Schweickart’s presentation will provide an update on what astronauts and cosmonauts, along with other experts from around the world, are doing to make sure we are ready.

The independent, non-profit Museum of Flight is one of the largest air and space museums in the world. The Museum’s collection includes more than 150 historically significant air- and spacecraft, as well as the Red Barn® — the original manufacturing facility of the Boeing Co. The Museum’s aeronautical library and archival holdings are the largest on the West Coast. More than 100,000 children are served annually by the Museum’s on-site and outreach educational programs — the most extensive museum-based youth aviation and space education program in the country. The Museum is the only aviation museum in Washington State that is both nationally accredited with the American Association of Museums and a Smithsonian affiliate.

The Museum of Flight is located at 9404 E. Marginal Way S., Seattle, Exit 158 off Interstate 5. The Museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $14 for adults, $13 for seniors 65 and older, $7.50 for youth 5 to 17, and free for children under 5. Group rates are available. Admission on the first Thursday of the month is free from 5 to 9 p.m. courtesy of Wells Fargo. For general Museum information, please call 206-764-5720 or visit www.museumofflight.org.


Source: The Museum of Flight
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