Professor to Present Asteroid Findings at NASA News Conference

Harry “Hap” McSween, Chancellor’s Professor and Distinguished Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, will present a new analysis of the giant asteroid Vesta. The journal Science has embargoed the findings prior to the news conference.

NASA will host a news conference on Thursday, May 10, at 2:00 p.m. The event will be broadcast live on NASA Television and streamed on the agency’s website. It will be held in the James E. Webb Auditorium at NASA Headquarters at 300 E St. SW in Washington, DC.

McSween is a co-investigator for the Dawn spacecraft mission which has been circling Vesta since last July and is slated to stay until Aug. 26. He is co-author on the embargoed Science papers.

McSween is a recipient of the J. Lawrence Smith Medal from the National Academy of Sciences for his pioneering studies of the parent planets of meteorites and his work on the geological history of Mars using studies of Martian meteorites and spacecraft missions to the planet. In 1999, McSween led a team of researchers which discovered geologic evidence on a meteorite that water existed deep in Mars’s crust.

At about the length of Arizona, Vesta is thought to be an intact chunk of the ingredients used to make the solar system around 4.5 billion years ago. Scientists suspect it may be what’s called a protoplanet and might have developed into a full-fledged planet of its own if things had turned out differently.

For NASA TV streaming video, downlink and scheduling information, visit the NASA TV website.

The event will be streamed live on Ustream with a moderated chat.

For more information about Dawn, visit the current Missions page on NASA’s website.

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