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Visiting Researcher, Australian Centre for Astrobiology, UNSW

Dr Duncan Steel is a Visiting Researcher at the Australian Centre for Astrobiology at the University of NSW, and currently lives in Canberra.

He is the author of more than 130 refereed research paper, over 500 articles in newspapers and magazines, and numerous technical reports and book chapters. Duncan has conducted over a thousand radio interviews and appeared in dozens of TV programs. He was also science adviser for an Emmy-winning Discovery Channel documentary entitled Three Minutes to Impact.

His books include Rogue Asteroids and Doomsday Comets (1995), Eclipse (1999 & 2001), Marking Time (2000) and Target Earth (2001). Asteroid 4713 Steel is named for him, as is a lunar-roving robot in one of Arthur C. Clarke’s science-fiction novels.

Over 100,000 web sites refer to his work. One ranks him in fourth place amongst all-time "Badass Scientists", another lists him fifth in terms of "Manliest Names", while another gives him the nod as having the best name for a male porn star (which he isn't).


  • 2004–present
    Visiting Researcher, Australian Centre for Astrobiology, University of New South Wales,
  • 1977–present
    Over 30 years working in physics, education, space science & technology, astronomy, NASA & ESA, & the unis of Canterbury (NZ), Adelaide, Lund, Kent & Oxford,
  • 2004–2012
    Defence consulting, Ball Aerospace & QinetiQ Pty Ltd,
  • 1999–2003
    Reader in Space Technology, University of Salford, UK,
  • 1988–1999
    Director of own company working on space debris & NEO analysis for NASA & USAF Space Command, Spaceguard (Australia) Pty Ltd,
  • 1990–1996
    Search & tracking of near-Earth objects and spacecraft targets, Anglo-Australian Observatory,


  • 1985 
    University of Canterbury, PhD (Radar Studies of Meteors)
  • 1981 
    University of Colorado, Planetary & Space Sciences, 1979
  • 1979 
    Imperial College, University of London, MSc, DIC, Applied Optics
  • 1978 
    Queen Mary College, University of London, Astrophysics
  • 1977 
    Queen Elizabeth College, University of London, BSc, Physics and Astrophysics

Research Areas

  • Astronomical And Space Sciences (0201)
  • Astronomical And Space Instrumentation (020102)
  • Satellite, Space Vehicle And Missile Design And Testing (090108)
  • History And Philosophy Of Science (Incl. Non Historical Philosophy Of Science) (220206)
  • History And Philosophy Of Engineering And Technology (220203)
  • Numerical And Computational Mathematics (0103)
  • Numerical Computation (080205)
  • Aerospace Engineering Not Elsewhere Classified (090199)
  • Classical And Physical Optics (020501)
  • Mesospheric, Ionospheric And Magnetospheric Physics (020107)
  • Physical Sciences (02)
  • Planetary Science (Excl. Extraterrestrial Geology) (020108)
  • Electrical And Electronic Engineering (0906)
  • Dynamical Systems In Applications (010204)
  • Astrobiology (020101)
  • Astronomical And Space Sciences Not Elsewhere Classified (020199)