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Giant asteroids more than a kilometer wide—they are out there and not just the topic of blockbuster movies, but could one of them be headed for planet Earth? Former Astronaut Tom Jones has consulted on Spaceguard, NASA’s tracking of Near-Earth asteroids and says it’s possible. Better questions may be: How possible? What would be the impact of an asteroid striking Earth? Jones will talk to students at the University of Houston about that topic at 4:15-5:30 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 4, Room 100 of the SEC Building at the UH main campus.

NASA has been tracking large near-Earth asteroids since 1998 when Congress mandated that the space agency do so. A majority of those measuring larger than a kilometer wide have been identified, but that leaves several hundred unaccounted for. In addition to his four shuttle missions, Jones, who holds a doctorate in planetary science, was part of a NASA study team that examined piloted missions to near-Earth Asteroids. He has authored the book Sky Walking and has conducted extensive research on asteroids, asteroid defense options and manned missions to asteroids.


Former NASA astronaut and Fox News commentator Dr. Thomas D. Jones will speak to Air Force ROTC Detachment 003 and the entire University of Houston community on Wednesday, November 4 from 4:15 PM – 5:30 PM in Room 100 of the SEC Building at the UH main campus. He will discuss asteroids and their danger to the Earth. A reception will be held afterwards for all attendees.

This lecture supports a senior level course entitled National Security Studies, a 3-semester class required of all Air Force ROTC cadets nationwide. The course at UH is unique because it involves an interagency crisis management exercise with 12 AFROTC cadets and 10 honor students from the Departments of Political Science and History. They are working together to deal with the aftermath of a simulated asteroid strike in the Caspian Sea. Made possible by a $25,000 research grant from UH, this exercise requires students to work as an interagency task force, develop a humanitarian relief plan, and implement that plan during a simulated deployment.

Dr. Jones holds a doctorate of planetary sciences degree and is a pilot, former NASA astronaut, speaker, author, scientist, and consultant. A distinguished graduate from the Air Force Academy, Dr. Jones has since piloted B-52D strategic bombers, studied asteroids for NASA, engineered intelligence-gathering systems for the CIA, and developed advanced mission concepts exploring the solar system as a NASA Contractor.

Over 11 years with NASA, Dr. Jones flew on four space shuttle missions and spent 53 days living and working in space. He has led three spacewalks to install the centerpiece of the International Space Station, the American Destiny Laboratory. Not only a seasoned astronaut but also an accomplished writer, Dr. Jones has authored Sky Walking: An Astronaut’s Memoir (2006), Hell Hawks (2008), and Planetology (2008).

To attend this exciting event, UH faculty, staff, and students must RSVP by contacting Capt Albert Chapman at or at 713-743-3703 by November 3rd. Space is limited.
Dr. Thomas D. Jones at UH

4:15-5:15 PM, Wednesday, November 4

University of Houston – Main Campus
SEC Building Room 100
Houston, TX 77204

UH Air Force ROTC Det 003
3855 Holman St
Houston, TX 77004

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