Between the planets: of asteroids and comets

Asteroid 103P/Hartley

Looking in between the planets, we see the exotic and fascinating world of asteroids and comets, including dwarf planets, strangly formed rocky and icy chunks, flying collections of rubble, systems of two or more bodies, icy objects with cometary activity and active cryo-vulcanism.

Some of these small worlds come close to Earth and were probably responsible for the extinction of the dinosaurs. Asteroids inspire movie directors to apocalyptic fantasies and challenge engineers with developing defensive techniques and methods.

Impact crater in Arizona

Comets and asteroids, however, are also connected to the origin of live on Earth and might become important in the near future for the exploitation of rare materials.

The scientific study of these small objects - in astronomical terms - is closely tied to the live giving and live taking aspects. At the same time it brings us back to the first stages of the solar system, some 4.6 billion years ago.

In the Café & Kosmos on 25 February 2014, Dr. Thomas Müller from the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics will give some insights into the fascinating world of small bodies. 

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