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.

24 September 2009

CBC Article Misinterprets NASA Human NEO Mission talk: "NASA, U of Alberta to propose asteroid landing"

This article suggests a human asteroid landing mission announcement will be made at an upcoming symposium. I remain skeptical that this is the actual intent of the talks that are referred to in the article below. I think the article misstates the talks the Dr. Paul Abell will be giving on Friday September 25 and Saturday September 26 2009 at the University of Alberta’s Institute for Space Science, Exploration and Technology's Space Exploration Symposium 2009. The talks, one of which is entitled "Scientific Exploration of Near-Earth Objects via the Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle”, are both similar in nature and I believe will talk about the recent NASA Human NEO study. I would find it hard to believe that this is an actual mission announcement as stated in the article ("NASA and the University of Alberta are set to propose a team-up that could see a manned landing on an asteroid."). It may be the Univ. of Alberta may contribute to a future STUDY of such a mission, not in any actual mission go ahead.

As part of the announcement the Univ. of Alberta has placed an animation on their website of such a human mission.

Link: Human NEO Mission Animation

NASA, U of Alberta to propose asteroid landing
24 Thursday, September 24, 2009
CBC News

The university's Institute for Space Science, Exploration and Technology will announce the proposal at a two-day symposium beginning on Friday in Edmonton. NASA planetary scientist Paul Abell will detail his plan to land on an as-yet-undetermined asteroid, where he hopes useful minerals could be discovered.

NASA may partner with the university because of its expertise in examining space rocks. Earth and atmospheric sciences Prof. Chris Herd could earn a spot on the team.

An asteroid landing would appear similar to a moon landing, according to an animated video simulation released by the university on Thursday. A landing craft would descend onto the surface of the asteroid, and astronauts would exit and conduct experiments and collect samples.

Peter Smith, who worked on NASA's Phoenix Mars mission, will also give a keynote during the symposium. Smith has worked closely with Carlos Lange, an engineering professor at the university who designed a wind-speed indicator used in the Phoenix mission.

Link: CBC Article

Link: Univ. of Alberta ISSET Space Exploration Symposium Agenda (PDF)

Link: NASA NEO Study Page

Link: IAF 2007 Paper on NASA NEO Study (PDF)

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