New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science

Tour the Asteroid Belt at Museum during International Asteroid Day

June 19, 2017


(Albuquerque, NM) – Get ready to experience Asteroid Day for the first time at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science.  From 5:30 – 10 p.m. on Friday, June 30, learn about asteroids, NASA’s mission to the asteroid belt, and what there is to know about asteroid impacts on Earth.

In the ViewSpace Theater, the museum will be streaming a special live broadcast of other Astronomy Day celebrations around the world.  Hear from astronomy experts about the nature of asteroids and how they influenced Earth’s history.  The video will continue throughout the day on June 30 during both the museum’s normal hours and also into the evening activities, but only while the broadcast is available.  Find out more at:

The evening will feature hands-on activities for the family starting at 5:30 p.m.  At 6:30 p.m. Dr. Thomas Prettyman, a Principal Investigator with NASA’s Dawn Mission, will present a talk about what the spacecraft has discovered on the dwarf planet Ceres, the major asteroid Vesta, and other objects in the asteroid belt.  After the talk, Dr. Prettyman will guide a preview of items from an upcoming exhibition at the museum about the Dawn mission.  The museum’s observatory will be open from 8:30 – 10 p.m., weather permitting.  Everything is included in one admission charge: $7 adults; $6 members; $4 students.  Tickets may be purchased in advance on or at the museum on June 30.

Asteroid Day happens on the June 30 every year and is a campaign to educate people worldwide about asteroids, the impact hazard they may pose, and what we can do to protect our planet, families, communities, and future generations.  Events held in various cities on Asteroid Day range from professional lectures and personalized programs for the public to live entertainment, all to help raise public awareness and support for ways to increase detection and tracking of asteroids.  Find out more from the event’s international site:



About Dr. Prettyman:

Dr. Tom Prettyman is one of several Planetary Science Institute scientists working in New Mexico and is proud to call Albuquerque home. Tom’s Ph.D. is in Nuclear Engineering, and his area of expertise is planetary remote sensing. He has experience working on NASA planetary missions, including Lunar Prospector and 2001 Mars Odyssey. He is a coinvestigator of the Dawn mission, for which he serves as the lead for the Gamma Ray and Neutron Detector (GRaND), the only US payload instrument.

About the Museum of Natural History & Science:

The New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science is located at 1801 Mountain Rd NW in Albuquerque, New Mexico. It was established in 1986 and became a Division of the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs in 1991. The Museum’s mission preserves and interprets the distinctive natural and scientific heritage of our state through our extraordinary collections, research, exhibits, and programs designed to ignite a passion for lifelong learning. The Museum is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Monday until June 25, 2017 when the Museum will open 7 days a week. 505-841-2800.


Media Contact:

Mary Ann Hatchitt


Related Photos

Photo: Asteroid Impact Mission ESA, Owner Grigorij Richters, May 3, 2017 by Grigorij Richters
Photo: Asteroid Day Event in South Korea Owner Grigorij Richters

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