Topic, "Meteorite Stories"

Hi. This month we will have a fascinating discussion at our Cafe Sci at 7PM on Wednesday 6 July, at Taste, in College Park.

Meteorites are pieces of the cosmos that literally fall out of the sky into our lives. They are scientifically invaluable as samples of asteroids, our Moon, and the planet Mars. How they are recovered is the subject of some very human stories of luck, random chance, and lively entrepreneurial spirit. Dr Britt will relate some of the more interesting (or larcenous) meteorite recoveries and teach the audience to keep their eyes open for random rocks from the sky.

Dr. Daniel Britt is a Professor of Astronomy and Planetary Sciences at the Department of Physics, University of Central Florida. He was educated at the University of Washington and Brown University, receiving a Ph.D. from Brown in 1991. He has had a varied career including service in the US Air Force as an ICBM missile launch officer and an economist for Boeing before going into planetary sciences. He has served on the science teams of two NASA missions, Mars Pathfinder and Deep Space 1. He was the project manager for the camera on Mars Pathfinder and has built hardware for all the NASA Mars landers. He currently does research on the physical properties and mineralogy of asteroids, comets, the Moon, and Mars under several NASA grants. Honors include 5 NASA Achievement Awards, election as a Fellow of the Meteoritical Society, and an asteroid named after him; 4395 DanBritt. He was recently elected President of the Division for Planetary Sciences of the American Astronomical Society. He lives in Orlando with his wife Judith. They have two sons, ages 15 and 20.


717 W. Smith Street
Orlando, United States

Taste is near the corner of Princeton Street (really Smith Street after the fork) and Edgewater Drive, so about 2 minutes from I-4 to parking. One can park on the street or in the parking lot behind Taste.

From I-4, drive a few blocks to Edgewater Drive. At the intersection, you should see a orange building ahead of you, labeled "Taste". Park on the street or behind Taste.

100 years since Nakhla meteorite

Though the timing of this month's speaker is unrelated, 100 years ago this week, a meteorite fell to earth in a dramatic way. Many people in Nakhla region of Alexandria, Egypt witnessed an explosion overhead about 9AM, and more than twenty pounds of igneous rock crash into the Earth. The dozens of fragments of meteor embedded up to a meter deep in the ground. Chemical and structural analysis have shown that the meteorite was ejected off of one of three volcanic regions of Mars, 1,300 million years ago by an asteroid impact. The Smithsonian Institution currently holds several pieces on public display.