Our Role as Planetary Guardians
Ciclo de Conferências 2020/21 - Tecnologia, Empresa e Sociedade
Asteroid impacts on Earth are a known source of extinctions and played a determining role in life evolution on Earth. A joint effort that brings together ESA (European Space Agency) and NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) will conduct an experiment, HERA, that will ultimately answer the question: Can we stop an asteroid? The Dinosaurs couldn't, but we have the benefit of knowledge on our side. Given the high number of objects orbiting Earth’s vicinity – asteroid impacts become a question of “when” rather than “if”. Indeed, thousands of meteorites weighing about a pound potentially fall to Earth every year, yet most of these events go unnoticed because the small rocks land in uninhabited forests or open ocean waters. The danger lies when the impacting asteroid is not so small.
Pedro Serra received the B.Sc., M.Sc., and Ph.D. degrees in electrical and computer engineering from Instituto Superior Técnico, Universidade de Lisboa, Lisboa, Portugal, in 2006, 2007, and 2016, respectively. He was a Research Assistant with the Faculty of Science and Technology, University of Macau, Macao, China, from 2013 to 2015. Currently, he is a Professor at Universidade Lusófona, a researcher at ECATI/COPELABS, and a Control Engineering expert with the Space Systems Business Unit, GMV Aerospace and Defense where he heads the Attitude Determination and Control System (ADCS) team of HERA.