Stellar Observations



Listening to Humberto Campins talk about asteroids and space travel makes me wish I had chosen a career in astronomy instead of journalism.

Okay, there—I said it. After eavesdropping on a 45-minute interview that my colleague Answer Man had with the UCF professor of physics and astronomy (page 28), I suddenly felt the urge to drive to a very dark spot and gaze at the stars all night. Or travel in my dreams to an asteroid. Or better yet, reserve a seat on a journey to Mars (on Orbitz no doubt). Hmm, maybe I can get press credentials for that trip—so my journalism background could pay off after all.

Campins talks about how we should not be worried about an asteroid striking Earth any time soon—“This is not something that should keep us awake at night.’’ But as a civilization, we have a responsibility to keep track of these big rocks for the sake of our grandchildren’s grandchildren. Which is why he is on a team that’s sending a spacecraft to the very asteroid that could be a threat come 2182. Scope it out, analyze the half-block-sized “rubble pile’’ and maybe we can divert it if the need arises. Although it probably won’t.

Campins mostly sees asteroids not as threats but as steppingstones to exploration of space, specifically Mars. The red planet’s moons, Phobos and Deimos, are former asteroids. Humans might be able to land on them one day and process an unearthly fuel that would power a descent to Mars, he says. Asteroids, after all, hold the very building blocks of life on Earth, as do comets.

I’ll stop there, but you should consider a trip to UCF on February 15, when Campins and other experts will offer commentary on an asteroid flyby occurring that day. Looking for something a bit sexier than asteroids? Well, two of the brightest comets in centuries will be visible from Earth in March and around Thanksgiving.

It’s not the end of the world. Just otherworldly.


This issue marks the debut of Greg Dawson’s “Extra Pulp’’ column. Many of you know Greg from his years at the Orlando Sentinel, where he was TV critic,

metro columnist, consumer columnist and workplace writer. He also is the author of two books on the Holocaust, including Hiding in the Spotlight, a fascinating account of how his mother used her musical talents to survive during World War II.

So what will his column be about? Let’s just say it will be unpredictable but with a decidedly Orlando flavor. For certain, you’re in for some juicy reading, full of the mischievous wit—and wisdom—that Greg is known for.

Edit Module
Want to read the whole issue? Download and read this issue and others on Magzter.

Add your comment:
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow TagsEdit ModuleShow Tags

Guides & Resources

Vacation Planner

Your next getaway is only a click away. Search our database for a great vacation experience.

2016 Premier Veterinarians

2016 Pet Resource Guide

Check out our searchable 2016 list of some of the best pet resources in the Orlando area.

Premier Realtors

Check out our 2016 searchable database of Orlando's premier realtors.

Orlando's Best Lawyers 2016

Our annual list includes hundreds of Orlando-area attorneys in dozens of areas of practice.

Orlando's Top Dentists of 2016

Our annual list featuring 224 of the area's finest dental professionals.

Guide to Private Schools 2016

Our searchable annual database will help you chart an educational course for your family.
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags

MoreRecent Blog Posts

'Orlando' Magazine Wins 8 Awards for Excellence

Recognition from Florida Magazine Association includes honors for design, writing, photography.

Weekend Happenings in Orlando Sep 23 to 25

Find the best events in and around Orlando for the weekend.

Messages of Peace

Offerings at the Global Peace Film Festival include a documentary about the Pulse nightclub tragedy.

Weekend Happenings in Orlando Sep 16 to 18

Find the best events in and around Orlando for the weekend.

Q&A: Zanna Roberts Rassi

“Marie Claire’s’’ senior fashion editor will host this weekend’s benefit during The Mall at Millenia's Fashion Week.
Edit Module