The Carnegie Institution’s Richard Carlson will speak as part of the annual Condon Lecture, which is directed towards non-scientists to inform the general public about intriguing topics.
The lecture comes on the same day as 2014 DX110, an asteroid that scientists say passed between the Earth and the moon Wednesday afternoon. Though Carlson likely will not specifically discuss Wednesday’s event, he will talk about the importance of studying asteroids.
“They’re pieces of early rocks and dust that were involved in planet formation but just didn’t get swept up,” he said. “So understanding the distribution of the different compositions will help inform us how the planets got made and why they’re compositionally different.”
The pain point of discussion, however, will be the history of the Earth, which in part also includes the study of asteroids.
“One of the things I will be talking about tonight is one of the models of Earth’s moon is that Earth got hit by a very large object,” he said. “So something the size of Mars or half the size of Mars or something. And it was such a violent impact that it ejected enough material into orbit that the moon formed out of that material.”
The free lecture starts at 7:30 p.m. at LaSells Stewart Center, located at 875 SW 26th St. in Corvallis.
On Thursday, he will talk about volcanoes in the Pacific Northwest at 4 p.m. in the Kelley Engineering Center, located on campus.