Skip to main content

Open house to explore 'Making Planets in a Small Satellite'

ASU Asteroid Origins Satellite (AOSAT) in orbit above Earth
February 16, 2015

Who would think that scientists could experiment with making planets using a satellite the size of a loaf of bread? But that's exactly what an Arizona State University-led space mission is about.

Those who wish to learn more are invited to attend a free public lecture at the next Earth and Space Open House, from 7 to 10 p.m., Feb. 20, at the Interdisciplinary Science and Technology Building IV (ISTB 4) on ASU’s Tempe campus.

The talk, "Making a Planet in a Small Satellite," is given by the School of Earth and Space Exploration's Viranga Perera, the satellite's project scientist.

Being designed and built on ASU's Tempe campus, the Asteroid Origins Satellite (AOSAT) is a miniature satellite about the size of a loaf of bread. AOSAT is designed to help scientists study how asteroids and larger bodies form by replicating part of an asteroid in a low-gravity environment. Besides learning about planet formation, this study can also pave the way for future asteroid exploration missions.

In addition to the public talk, there will be two 3-D planetarium shows in the Marston Exploration Theater, at 7:15 and 8:45 p.m. All seating is on a first-come basis.

At 8 p.m., attendees can "Create Your Own Planet" in the Marston Exploration Theater. (Participants must sign up at the welcome table beforehand.)

As usual, there will be telescope sky viewing outdoors next to the James Turrell Skyscape art installation from 8 to 10 p.m. (weather permitting). There will also be several exciting demonstrations and activities in the state-of-the-art ISTB4 Gallery of Scientific Exploration by experts in astrobiology, geology, cosmology and planetary science – as well as a free poster.

The open house can be accessed through the main entrance of ISTB 4, located on the building’s north side.

The monthly open house is sponsored by the School of Earth and Space Exploration, GeoClub, AstroDevils: ASU Astronomy Club, Icarus Rocketry, Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (SEDS), the Center for Meteorite Studies (CMS) and many others.

For more information, visit or visit the school's Facebook event page. The next open houses will be held on March 27 (about astrobiology) and April 24 (on the 25th anniversary of the Hubble Space Telescope).

The School of Earth and Space Exploration is an academic unit of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.