Is the Sky Falling? Asteroids and the Earth with American Astronaut Ed Lu “Marin Conversations”

SAN FRANCISCO  (April 6, 2015) — On May 6, American Astronaut Ed Lu, who chairs the B612 Foundation, will address the issue of asteroids hitting the earth in the second of the Club’s “Marin Conversations Series.”  Emmy award-winning CBS5 News and Weather Anchor Brian Hackney will moderate the conversation.  This ongoing series presents a monthly conversation between Marin personalities and subject matter experts on important social issues.  The program will be held Wednesday, May 6,  at 7:45 p.m. at The Outdoor Art Club, One W. Blithedale Avenue in Mill Valley.  Hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar will be on hand from 7:00-7:45 p.m.   This program is being sponsored by Relevant Wealth Advisors.

Astronaut Lu will discuss those dangerous collisions, which occur at least twice every year, and tell us how asteroid strikes are truly the only natural disaster for which we have means of stopping. He will share that despite our advanced solutions to preventing catastrophic impacts, we face a more basic problem: We don’t know where in our solar system most asteroids are, or, more importantly, when they will hit Earth. Astronaut Ed Lu and the B612 Foundation are committed to meeting this challenge. The Foundation’s Sentinel Mission, the first privately funded interplanetary venture, will map and catalogue near-Earth asteroids, helping to ensure that we are aware of potential asteroid strikes—giving us the time we need to deflect them. Lu will explain why the mission matters and what technological innovations will make it possible. 

KCBS News and Weather Anchor Brian Hackney has won 18 Emmy awards for his reporting, writing and anchoring. Amongst other honors, he shared the Peabody award for his contributions to KGO’s legendary coverage of the Loma Prieta earthquake. As a reporter he has interviewed the gamut of celebrities and newsmakers, from Carl Sagan to Edward Teller to Paul McCartney. Educated as a meteorologist, the native of Hollister holds two degrees from Cal Poly in Physics and Electronic Engineering. 

The first program in the series “Our Food, Our Health and our Planet” featured President and Co-Founder of the Environmental Working Group Ken Cook, and the Chairman of Stonyfield Farm, Gary Hirshberg. Cook, a preeminent environmentalist at the forefront of agriculture and food policy, and Hirshberg, an agricultural entrepreneur who grew a seven-cow organic farming school into a successful organic yogurt company, told us how we can take control of our health and yet have a positive impact on the planet.

Dr. Ruth Shapiro, the Club’s first “Social Entrepreneur in Residence” and author of The Real Problem Solvers, continues to spearhead the Marin Commonwealth Club Series.  Comments Dr. Shapiro, “We are so excited about our Marin Conversations programs.  They will continue to provide the unique blend of high quality Commonwealth Club programming and social issues of importance to Marin residents.  We want to thank our partner, Relevant Wealth Advisors, for supporting our efforts to create a substantive series and offering an opportunity to meet others in Marin County who want to deepen their knowledge about important challenges and solutions taking place here, around the country and the globally.”

Tickets are limited to 100 people. TICKETS MUST ALWAYS BE PURCHASED IN ADVANCE BY PHONE, 415-597-6705 or online at Marin Conversations will continue to take place monthly at The Outdoor Art Club, which is located at One West Blithedale Avenue, Mill Valley. Cash bar and hors d'oeuvres will be served from 7 to 7:45 p.m., followed by the program from 7:45 to 9:00 p.m.

Dr. Shapiro is the Principal of Keyi, a consulting practice.  Prior to this, she created the Asia Business Council. Dr. Shapiro worked in the field of international development.  In this capacity, she held various management positions and established new program areas at the Academy for Educational Development, and the Harvard Institute of International Development and Global Outlook. 

Dr. Shapiro, a Mill Valley resident, recently relocated back to the United States after living in Hong Kong and London for the last six years.  She holds a doctorate from Stanford University and Masters Degrees from Harvard University and George Washington University.  She completed her undergraduate work at the University of Michigan.  

Founded in 1903, The Commonwealth Club of California is the nation’s premier public affairs forum, with more than 22,000 members.  Based in San Francisco and San Jose, the Club hosts over 450 speeches, debates and discussions each year on issues of regional, national and international significance.  The Club sponsors public policy projects on issues including structural reform of state government and K-12 education reform.  At least one million people hear The Commonwealth Club’s weekly radio broadcasts on more than 230 stations across the country. The Club’s videos also appear on the California Channel, C-SPAN,, and YouTube, where they have been viewed millions of times. For the past century, The Club has fostered free speech and civic dialogue on wide-ranging topics, addressing key issues in society, culture, politics, the economy and more. For more information, visit

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