Carrie Nugent is an asteroid hunter — and while that might sound like a science fiction role from 'Armageddon,' her asteroid talk makes it clear that the position involves an immense amount of scientific knowledge. In fact, the search for and discovery of asteroids has the potential to tell us more about the history of the Earth and the solar system than any other endeavor.
For Nugent, tracking asteroids is like a public works project. She works with NASA to create an archive of as many asteroids in the general vicinity of the Earth's orbit as possible, with the hope that that archive will be passed down for generations. They discovered 1,556 near-Earth asteroids last year alone, and the archive at the time of her speech listed 13,733 near-Earth asteroids (of course, that number is constantly growing.)
Part of the value of tracking these heavenly bodies is to make sure Earth doesn't get an unexpected collision. Indeed, Nugent's job as an asteroid hunter is something like Armageddon, just with a little more foresight.
Learning About Asteroids
More Stats +/-
Future Festival & Malcolm Gladwell - Early Bird Deadline
Advancements In String Theory
Understanding the God Particle
Keeping Outer Space Clean
Transformations on Earth