Comet Dust In the Laboratory

Dr. Scott Messenger of Washington University, Saint Louis, MO

"Comet Dust In the Laboratory", an illustrated lecture by Dr. Scott Messenger of Washington University, will be featured at the August meeting of the St. Louis Astronomical Society. The meeting will begin at 7:30 PM Friday, August 17, in McDonnell Hall, Room 162, on the Washington University campus. McDonnell Hall is accessible from Forsyth Boulevard via Houston Way. The presentation, cosponsored by NASA's Missouri Space Grant Consortium, is open to the public free of charge.

For the past twenty years, NASA has collected interplanetary dust in the stratosphere, using high altitude research aircraft. These particles are from comets and asteroids. They preserve primitive solar system materials, and even some materials created over 4.8 billion years ago, before the Sun and Earth were formed. Recent models now suggest that it may be possible to collect dust from several comets that cross the Earth's orbit. Dr. Messenger will talk about the study of this extraterrestrial material, and what we can learn from it about the origin of the solar system.

Dr. Scott Messenger is a Senior Research Scientist in the Department of Physics at Washington University in Saint Louis. He received his Doctorate from Washington University in 1997, worked as a National Research Council Post-Doctoral Research Associate in Washington, D.C., and returned to Washington University in 1999.. His research interests center on the microscopic study of extraterrestrial materials, particularly of space dust.

For more information about Dr. Scott Messenger, click here.