As the New Horizons mission approached Ultima Thule, Rowan University paleontologist Kenneth Lacovara put our close-up study of the Kuiper Belt object into a deep-time perspective.
Welcome to Scientific American’s Science Talk, posted on January 3, 2019. Happy New Year! I’m Steve Mirsky.
Ultima Thule. It’s the little snowman–shaped Kuiper Belt object that the New Horizons mission flew by on January 1st. We’ll be receiving info about Ultima Thule from the spacecraft for the next 20 months or so. And there’s plenty of coverage about the mission and the object on our site and all over the web.
So for this short edition of Science Talk I want to focus on the deep-time aspect of Ultima Thule…and us. On New Year’s Eve, the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory hosted a few short talks about the latest stop for the New Horizons mission. The speakers were all space people. With the exception of Kenneth Lacovara. Who’s a paleontologist, based at Rowan University in New Jersey. Lacovara has found the remains of the largest-known dinosaurs. Including Dreadnoughtus, which weighed in at about 65 tons. Its femur is as tall as an NBA shooting guard.
Lacovara gave a brief talk for the Web cast New Year’s Eve that puts the study of Ultima Thule in a somewhat different context than we may usually think about space missions. I happened to be watching live and I grabbed the audio to share with you. Enjoy!
Thanks to the John Hopkins Applied Physics Lab and to Ken Lacovara for green-lighting my use of their audio. We’ll be back in a few days with a more traditional episode of Science Talk. Til then, check out www.scientificamerican.com for our continuing coverage of the New Horizons mission and for all your science news.
And follow us on Twitter, where you’ll get a tweet whenever a new item hits the Web site. Our twitter name is @sciam. For Scientific American’s Science Talk, I’m Steve Mirsky, thanks for clicking on us.