Are we prepared?

Where: Stardome Observatory, Auckland

When: 8PM, Monday, 14th of November 2016

On November the 14th, Professor Kathy Campbell will give a talk at the Auckland’s Astronomical Society monthly meeting, at the Stardome Observatory.  She will talk about  the ET impact event that wiped out the dinosaurs 66 million years ago. Professor Kathy Campbell is a geologist, expert in the history of stones.

Professor Campbell was recently invited in Paul Henry’s show to talk about the new American initiative to prepare against an asteroid impact. This is not a new “fashion” but the result of the US government taking seriously years of studying the possibility of such impact. There are many scientists who have lobbied for rising awareness on this subject mater.

Click on the picture to watch Professor Campbell talking about the asteroid preparedness exercise.
Click on the picture to watch Professor Campbell talking about the asteroid preparedness exercise.

You can find more about a global initiative about asteroids here

Coincidentally, 14th of November is also the day when a press conference on how to protect ourselves from asteroids will be held in Europe.

More details at this link

Press release follows:

LONDON, UK | BERLIN, GERMANY (8 November 2016) – The co-founder of Asteroid Day, the global movement that helps protect the world from dangerous Asteroids, the Observatoire de la Côte D’Azur, and the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin will host a joint press conference on Monday, 14 November in Berlin, at 11am CET in the Museum für Naturkunde (MfN) to highlight the need for increased knowledge of Near Earth Objects (NEOs) and support for the space missions necessary to protect Earth from dangerous NEO impacts.

At the press conference, a letter signed by scores of leading planetary scientists around the world, will be released to the media. The letter shows the community’s support of missions designed to increase our knowledge of asteroids and near Earth objects, in particular ESA’s Asteroid Impact Mission (

Professor Kathleen Campbell is appointed Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand

Nineteen top New Zealand researchers and scholars have been announced as Fellows of the Royal Society of New Zealand at a forum today, an honour which recognises true international distinction in research and scholarship.

One of them is Professor Kathleen Campbell, University of Auckland, who is at the forefront of unearthing evidence for past life in ‘extreme’ environments, thereby contributing to the search for life’s origins and bio-signatures on other planets.

Professor Kathy Campbell commented on her appointment: “I have had so much support over the years from family, teachers, institutions and peers that it feels like this award of Fellow of the RSNZ belongs to me and to everyone who has helped me grow up and step into my higher potential in research and in communicating the wonders of science to the wider community.”

We congratulate Professor Kathy Campbell for her achievement. She is one of the greatest supporters of astrobiology in New Zealand as well as an active promoter of New Zealand to the international fora. Her dedication to the field of astrobiology is a continuous inspiration to our New Zealand astrobiology community.


Where is everyone?

Professor Kathy Campbell is talking with Mark Sainsbury about Professor Brian Cox’s article on the Fermi paradox—yet/tabid/506/articleID/129901/Default.aspx

About the Fermi paradox

Professor Brian Cox article on the Fermi paradox

Life on Europa?

Why do we care about water vapour in Europa’s atmosphere?

Find out why with Kathy Campbell, professor at University of Auckland in an interview about NASA’s announced press conference about Europa.

Image credit: NASA/ESA/L. Roth/SWRI/University of Cologne
Image credit: NASA/ESA/L. Roth/SWRI/University of Cologne

Further reading:

Hubble Space Telescope Sees Evidence of Water Vapor Venting off Jupiter Moon


Before Full Moon, New Moon or Blue Moon there was Groovy Moon

Professor Kathy Campbell was invited to talk with Alison Mau on the Paul Henry Show about the impact on humanity of the Moon landing 47 years ago, and to discuss Peter Schultz’s latest paper on the origins of the Moon as we know it.

Here is the link to the live show:



Science Media Centre says it well: “The Moon’s groovy origins: A baby planet broke apart around 4.1 to 3.7 billion years ago and sent a hunk of rock about 250 kilometres wide crashing majestically into the Moon, building up grooves around a 1,250 kilometre-diameter crater, say US astrophysicists. This baby planet, called a proto-planet, would have broken away from the asteroid belt and tumbled through our solar system until it found a nice hefty gravity to give a big explosive kiss to, the authors explain. They add that the findings give insight into the size of asteroids that gave the near side of the moon its pockmarked appearance”

Article and author details: Origin and implications of non-radial Imbrium Sculpture on the Moon

Corresponding Author: Peter Schultz, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, United States

DOI: 10.1038/nature18278

Online paper:

Abiogenesis for #AstrobiologyNZ

Abiogenesis (Short Film) from Richard Mans on Vimeo.

Richard Mans loves 3D animation and robots.  The New Zealander filmmaker worked on animation contracts with NASA and whilst there he was inspired by their Mars Rover missions animation.  He spent about four years making Abiogenesis, which as he said, helped him discover a real desire to continue making films.

Richard loves to talk about space and the word astrobiology is no foreign to him. I really hope that there are many more movies like this one to come. Watching the alien planetary landscape sent me into a familiar but strange and beautifully compiled world. Food for thought!


Abiogenesis is a breathtaking science fiction spectacle, where a strange mechanical device lands on a desolate world and uses the planet to undergo a startling transformation, that has profound implications for an entire galaxy.

The music is equally out of this world, composed by the Wellingtonian Rhian Sheehan, who is world-famous and also makes scores for many planetarium shows.

Abiogenesis received an impressive list of awards.

Marcelo Gleiser

The Search For The Oldest Life On Earth Is A Complicated One

says Marcelo Gleiser, a world-renowned scientist who spoke at the New Zealand’s first Astrobiology Workshop held in Kaikoura.

“New Zealand has all it needs to become a leading centre for astrobiology research: good universities, excellent scientists, an interest from younger students and, last but not least, spectacular natural resources that can be used as laboratories for investigating the extreme conditions prevalent in early Earth and, possibly, elsewhere in this solar system and others. It was a pleasure to be part of this initiative, hopefully the gateway for much more to come.”

Continue reading Marcelo Gleiser

To be or not to be: @Plutokiller finds Planet Nine

Roughly 150 million kilometres, one astronomical unit (AU) is the distance from Sun to Earth. Thirty times that, you reach Neptune, which lies at 30 astronomical units from the Sun. Neptune was the furthest planet that we knew of.

Planet Nine is 100 astronomical units from the Sun!

Join us on a journey to find out more about Planet Nine with Professor Kathleen Campbell, University of Auckland and Radio Live. Continue reading To be or not to be: @Plutokiller finds Planet Nine 

Exoplanet atmospheres and the possibilities of finding life.

We’re getting good at finding exoplanets, but trying to find evidence of life is a little bit more complicated than I thought. It fabulously integrates the different sciences; bringing together people with various expertise to scratch their heads collectively as they try and figure out how to solve the next step in this massive conundrum.

Let’s look at some of what we know.

Continue reading Exoplanet atmospheres and the possibilities of finding life.

Why imagination is more important than knowledge

My daughter asked me a few weeks ago looking at a poster in my office: “Mummy why imagination is more important than knowledge?’

Whilst I have at the time tried to explain to her the concept using the “Star Trek” doors (initially pulled by people so they look like they open by themselves), last night, after hearing that David Bowie changed back into stardust we both watched

And then…

which made me pondered once again how beautiful human species is, with our amazing capacity to create myths, songs, and stories.

Rest in peace David Bowie, and thank you for reminding me over and over that art and storytelling are as important as science in creating our future.

Godspeed Major Tom