This area will cover relevant news of the threat to the planet from Near Earth Objects (NEOs) including concepts and designs for mitigation. All opinions are those of the author.

30 June 2008

Move An Asteroid 2008 Technical Paper Winners Annouced

From a competition I helped organize with the Space Generation Advisory Council (SGAC). I must thank the judges at SpaceWorks, my home organization, for assisting me in reviewing all the entrants. We hope to continue this competition next year.

Space Generation Advisory Council Announces Winners of “Move An Asteroid 2008” International Competition on 100th Anniversary of Tunguska Explosion

The Space Generation Advisory Council, the world’s largest group representing youth perspectives on space exploration to the United Nations and national space programs today announced the winners of an international youth technical paper competition to develop unique and innovative concepts for how to deflect an asteroid or comet that could impact the Earth (referred to as mitigation). The SGAC announced the competition results on the 100th anniversary of the last major impact of the Earth by an asteroid or comet, known as the Tunguska explosion. Financial support for this competition is provided by Northrop Grumman Corporation, Lockheed Martin Corporation, SpaceWorks Commercial, and The Planetary Society.

First place in the competition is awarded to Mary D'Souza of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Queensland in Australia for her paper entitled “A Body Solar Sail Concept for the Deflection of 99942 Apophis.” Ms. D'Souza’s concept involves wrapping an asteroid in a reflective film (referred to as a “body” solar sail). Such a coating may increase the asteroid’s reflectivity, enabling deflection by solar radiation pressure. Ms. D'Souza will receive a trip to present her paper at this year's Space Generation Congress (SGC) and International Astronautical Congress (IAC) which take place in Glasgow, Scotland from late September until early October 2008.

Second place is awarded to Mr. Andrew Bacon of the Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering at the University of Bath in Bath, United Kingdom for his paper entitled “The Use of Electromechanical Resonators for the Mitigation of Earth Threatening Asteroids and Comets.” Mr. Bacon’s concept involves the use of electromechanical resonators to build up waves within an asteroid or comet that would break it up. Mr. Bacon will receive a trip to present his paper at this year’s SGC.

"We received submissions from all over the world and thank all the participants for developing creative Near Earth Object (NEO) mitigation strategies. The first and second place winners demonstrated an ability to think creatively about the problem and to explain it to the judges.”, said A.C. Charania, administrator of the Move An Asteroid 2008 Competition. "We hope to continue this competition next year and look forward to the presentations of the winners at this year’s Space Generation Congress (SGC) and International Astronautical Congress (IAC)."

"It is great to see such an interest in this topic from young people all over the world. Hopefully with competitions like this, SGAC can further increase the involvement of youth in this important field of current space research.", said Alex Karl, Co-Chairperson of the Space Generation Advisory Council.

Link: Move An Asteroid 2008 Website

Link: SGAC Press Release PDF

Link: Press Release

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