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Public Lecture: To Bennu and Back: Using asteroids to reveal the geological history of the Solar System

02 April 2024
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Event type:
Lecture, Hybrid
Organised by:
Geological Society Events, Public Lectures 2024, Planetary
Hybrid In person at Burlington House and Virtual via Zoom
Event status:

Event details

Asteroids are the building blocks of the Solar System, providing a detailed record of the processes and events that shaped the planets. Dark C-type asteroids are thought to contain water and organic matter and were likely an important source of hydrogen, carbon, nitrogen, and prebiotic molecules to the early Earth. We can learn about the composition of C-type asteroids from meteorites, but these rocks only reveal part of the story due to terrestrial contamination. JAXA’s Hayabusa2 and NASA’s OSIRIS-REx missions therefore set out to collect and return to Earth pristine samples of the C-type asteroids Ryugu and Bennu, respectively. 

In this Public Lecture, Dr Ashley King will talk about what we’ve learnt from Ryugu and give an update on the first analyses of Bennu samples.


Dr Ashley King is a Research Fellow at the Natural History Museum, London, where he investigates the origins of the Solar System and formation of planets through the laboratory analysis of meteorites and samples returned by space missions. Ashley is a member of the sample analysis teams for the Hayabusa2 and OSIRIS-REx missions and the current lead of the UK Fireball Alliance (UKFAll) – a collaboration between meteor camera networks, which aims to recover freshly-fallen meteorites in the UK.

Date and time

This event will take place on Tuesday 2 April 2024 at 18:00.


This Public Lecture will take place in person at Burlington House, Piccadilly and online via Zoom.


17:30 - 18:00: Guests will arrive for the Public Lecture

18:00 - 19:00: Talk takes place (including a Q&A)

19:00: Event ends


This lecture is free to attend; however, we are a registered charity (number: 210161) and we would welcome donations. If you would like to donate, you can do so here.

You can register for both in person and virtual tickets here.

If you wish to join our mailing list, please email [email protected].

Geolsoc Contact

Conference Office

The Geological Society
Burlington House