September 7, 2022

EP. 281 — Can Asteroids Rock Our World? with Christina Hernández and Terik Daly

It’s a beautiful night—the sky is clear, the stars are twinkling. You see a shooting star! Or is it a comet! Maybe a meteor? Whatever it is, it’s gone in an instant. But what if that whirring bit of space were headed… straight towards the Earth, not past it? Yeah, not so cute. This week, Christina Hernández and Terik Daly of NASA join Jonathan to talk about asteroids, what they’re made of, and how we could protect the planet if one came hurtling towards the place we call home.


Christina Hernández (she/her/hers) is a systems engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. She currently works on Psyche, NASA’s mission to a metal world, as a flight systems engineer. She previously spent over 6 years working on NASA’s Perseverance rover mission as a payload systems engineer. You can follow Christina on Twitter @estrellasycafe.

Dr. Terik Daly is a planetary scientist at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. He is the deputy instrument scientist for NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission, which is the world’s first planetary defense test mission.

For more information on NASA’s upcoming missions, including those mentioned in this episode, you can follow @AsteroidWatch on Twitter.

Interested in the worlds of our solar system? Visit @NASASolarSystem for the broad picture and @NASAPersevere to check in on our neighbor, Mars!

Join the conversation, and find out what former guests are up to, by following us on Instagram and Twitter @CuriousWithJVN.

Jonathan is on Instagram and Twitter @JVN and @Jonathan.Vanness on Facebook.

Transcripts for each episode are available at


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Our executive producer is Erica Getto. Our associate producer is Zahra Crim. Our editor is Andrew Carson.


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Getting Curious with Jonathan Van Ness & Christina Hernández and Dr. Terik Daly JVN [00:00:00] Welcome back to Getting Curious. I’m Jonathan Van Ness and every week I get to sit down for a gorgeous conversation with a brilliant expert—or like this week, two brilliant experts— to learn all about something that makes me curious. On today’s episode, I’m joined by asteroid experts, Christina Hernández and Terik Daly. One note before we get started, we recorded this episode in advance and since then, there’s been an update. You’ll hear Christina talk about a mission called Psyche. When we spoke, it was scheduled to launch in 2022. We’ve now heard that the launch date is drumroll… up in the air. You can stay tuned to NASA for more information and updates. Without further ado, here’s our episode with Christina Hernández and Terik Daly, where I ask them: Can asteroids going to rock our world? And if they can, should I be scared? Welcome to

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