January 10, 2024 — This past weekend, we celebrated the Feast of the Epiphany, when the three magi followed yonder star to God’s perfect light (to paraphrase the old song). By gazing at the stars, people from near and far we’re drawn to Christ—a reminder that, woven into the very fabric of the universe, God reveals Godself, guiding us deeper into God’s mystery and an encounter with Christ.
What was true more than 2,000 years ago remains true today. Stars, meteorites, planets, the mysteries of space still speak to us of God and God’s dream for creation. And the Society of Jesus continues to be on the forefront of discerning God in the stars.
More than 30 asteroids have been named for Jesuits. There are a similar number of craters on the moon bearing Jesuit names. And based on the work of today’s guest, it’s entirely possible that the Society of Jesus might find itself with a few more astral namesakes in the not-so-distant future.
Br. Bob Macke, SJ, is one of the world’s foremost experts in the study of meteorites. And his work has been instrumental in OSIRIS-REx mission, a recent NASA mission that might reveal new insight into the earliest moments of the solar system. Today, he talks to us about his work, his vocation and what he hopes to learn as he continues to comb through space—that final frontier.
Br. Bob studied physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Washington University in St. Louis, before entering the Society of Jesus in 2001. Between 2011 and 2013 he studied theology at Boston College School of Theology and Ministry, during which time he also constructed a new ideal-gas pycnometer for measuring meteorite densities. Br. Macke joined the Vatican Observatory in July 2013, where he studies meteorite physical properties in the observatory’s meteorite laboratory. In August 2014, Br. Macke became the curator of the Vatican collection of 1200 meteorite specimens.
AMDG is a production of the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States.