University of Central Florida Professor Humberto Campins, an international expert on asteroids, comets and meteorites, is hosting a workshop about water on asteroids and meteorites in Paris on Sept. 29-30.
The Paris Observatory asked Campins to hold the workshop because he is recognized as an expert in this area. Campins received international attention in 2010 because he found water ice on asteroid 24 Themis and then again later in the same year on 65 Cybele. The discoveries support the theory that water may be more common in the asteroid belt than first thought and that perhaps an asteroid brought Earth the early ingredients for life.
“The presence and distribution of water in asteroids is relevant to the origin and evolution of our Solar System and even of Earth’s own water,” said Campins. “Water is a key ingredient to life as we know it. This is a hot area of research and we expect a good audience at this international workshop.”
Finding water in asteroids and comets is a major focus of research as NASA and the European Space Agency plan and execute trips to recover samples from two asteroids in the next five to seven years through the OSIRIS-REx and Marco Polo-R missions.
Campins has several degrees, including a Ph.D. in Planetary Sciences from the University of Arizona. He has earned several awards over the years, including a Fulbright Senior Award, an SAIC Prize for Outstanding Physics and a NASA-Ames Research Center Achievement Award.
His work has made such an impact in the field of planetary sciences that in 1987 the International Astronomical Union named Asteroid 3327 after Campins.
Campins ability to explain complex science in ways that the average person can understand makes him popular with media as well. His expertise has been sought out by the New York Times, the BBC, National Geographic, CNN and, National Public Radio, among others.
Campins’ home base is UCF where he teaches astronomy and has been leading the Planetary Sciences Group since 2002.