AAC Monthly Meeting - March 2022

  • 8 Mar 2022
  • 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
  • Online webinar using ZOOM




7:00 - 7:15 General Meeting & Announcements
7:15 - 7:30 Short topic presentation by a club member
7:30 - Public Presentation


Dr. Paul Weissman

Senior Scientist Emeritus

Planetary Science Institute

Topic: Rosetta Mission to Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko


Comets are time capsules containing primitive material left over from the epoch when the Sun and its planets formed. By studying the gas, dust and structure of the nucleus and organic materials associated with the comet, via both remote and in situ observations, the Rosetta helped to reveal the history and evolution of our Solar System. Rosetta launched in 2004 and arrived at Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko on 6 August 2014. It was the first mission in history to rendezvous with a comet, escort it as it orbited the Sun, and deploy a lander to its surface, also a first. Rosetta was a European Space Agency (ESA) mission with contributions from its member states and NASA. The mission ended on 30 September 2016.

About the Speaker:

Dr. Weissman received his Bachelor of Arts in Physics from Cornell University in 1969. He earned two Masters of Science degrees, one in Astronomy from the University of Massachusetts in 1971 and his second in Planetary and Space Physics from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1973. Dr. Weissman was awarded his Ph.D. in 1978 from the University of California, Los Angeles for his work on the Physical and Dynamical Evolution of Long-Period Comets. He has worked at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in a multiple array of capacities, including as a research scientist in the Earth and Space Sciences Division (1979), Mission Scientist for the Mariner Mark II Project (1981 – 1982), Co-Investigator on the Visual Infrared Mapping Spectrometer Science Development Team (1984 – 1988), Deputy Project Scientist on the Comet Rendezvous/Asteroid Flyby Project (1987 – 1992), Co-Investigator on the Near Infrared Mapping Spectrometer (NIMS) experiment on the Galileo spacecraft (1988 – 2003), Deputy Study Scientist for the Champollion Lander on the International Rosetta Mission (1995 – 1996), Project Scientist for the Champollion/DS4 Comet Lander and Sample Return Mission (1996 – 1999), and the Astronomy Science Lead at Table Mountain Observatory (2003 – 2015). Dr. Weissman was a Senior Research Scientist at JPL from 1995 until he joined PSI in 2015.


Dr. Paul Weissman is a leader in comet studies, and his research focuses on the characterization and understanding of comet nuclei. His research includes the evolution of comets, their connection with the asteroid population, and their role in the evolution of the solar system. Other studies, relevant to comet evolution include examining the dynamical history of the Oort Cloud and its evolution over the formation of the solar system.

Interesting fact - Minor Planet 3197 Weissman is named after him.

© Alachua Astronomy Club, Inc.
Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software