Mayans, asteroids and the end of the world

December – it marks the start of winter and the end of a more than 5,000-year-long calendar used by the Maya. Some say it’s when the world will end. WMFE 90.7’s Mark Simpson talks with an expert on Mayan culture. He also talks with UCF Professor and Asteroid Expert Humberto Campins about whether any asteroids are headed our way and whether they can be diverted.

Listen to the full interview here.

Campins, an international expert on asteroids, led a team of scientists who first discovered water ice and organic molecules on an asteroid in 2010. He also is a member of the NASA team now preparing the OSIRIS-REx mission, which will bring back a sample from a nearby asteroid and is scheduled for launch in 2016.

Campins also is a member of the MarcoPolo-R mission, which the European Space Agency has approved for further study. The MarcoPolo-R spacecraft could be launched by 2020-22 to return samples from another asteroid. Campins’ research is also contributing to the Hayabusa-2 spacecraft, a Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency mission with the same goal in mind.

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