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.

04 May 2009

Bruce Betts from the Planetary Society: Giving an Update on 2009 Planetary Defense Conference

Presentation of Foresight, an radio beacon mission to Near Earth Asteroid Apophis, winner of The Planetary Society's 2007 Apophis Mission Design Competiton. The presentation was made at the 2009 IAA Planetary Defense Conference in Granada, Spain in April 2009.

Bruce Betts discusses updates to the Apophis Mission Design Competition entries on The Planetary Society's site. Here is the post:

Projects: Apophis Mission Design Competition
Apophis Mission Design Competition at the Planetary Defense Conference
by Bruce Betts
April 29, 2009

The Planetary Society's Director of Projects, Dr. Bruce Betts, is currently in Granada, Spain, where he is attending the Planetary Defense Conference. He filed this update.

One highlight of the Planetary Defense Conference has been the chance to see all of The Planetary Society's Apophis Mission Design Competition winning teams. Not only are these teams here, they are also all continuing work on their mission designs and related studies, and presenting their mission designs to space agencies and colleagues.

What has been striking to see at this conference is the staying power of the competition. We had hoped for this, and have ourselves been working with space agencies, advocating for consideration of the mission designs. It has been wonderful to see all three winners of the open competition are represented here. Note that all three of the prize winners were considered excellent proposals. Though the prize assignments were unanimous in our review panel, the discussions that led to the line up were long and thorough. In other words, all three were very viable mission designs.

A.C. Charania is here representing the SpaceWorks/SpaceDev winning entry. He presented the concept in detail in one of the sessions, along with follow up studies they have done including assessing new launch vehicle options, and future plans they have. They have also presented their mission concept at other conferences and in front of various space agencies. They continue to work with spacecraft designers to flesh out options for Apophis missions.

Juan L. Cano was the leader of the 2nd prize team and is here at the conference. He is from Deimos Space here in Spain, and his team included a variety of organizations from several countries in Europe. They are now involved with doing detailed Apophis mission studies for ESA, and he presented some of their results. He told me the Apophis competition caused them to move forward with their designs and plans, and has helped lead them to where they are now.

The third prize team, another large European consortium, in this case led by a team from Astrium in the U.K., is also continuing to pursue related work. I talked with Craig Brown from Astrium. He was not on the proposal team, but is working on some of the follow-on. He says Astrium continues to be very interested in studying NEO missions. In addition to mission studies, they have also spun off studies of how to take spacecraft thermal models and apply them to NEOs to study and predict the "Yarkovsky effect." The Yarkovsky effect, which sounds more like something that occurs under hypnosis, is actually something getting a lot of discussion at this conference. Differential temperatures on a rotating asteroid between its morning and afternoon sides actually causes changes to the orbit of asteroids. The effect is not well understood yet, but because of its significance for an object like Apophis, lots of people are thinking about it.

Link: Projects: Apophis Mission Design Competition

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Any opinions expressed on the blog are solely those of the author. The site is not sponsored by, nor does it represent the opinions of, any organization, corporation, or other entity.