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.

25 April 2006

New Book on Comet/Asteroid Impacts and Human Reaction

New book on disasters and human reaction, specifically looking at human reaction to the threat.

"Comet/Asteroid Impacts and Human Society: An Interdisciplinary Approach"
Authors: Bobrowsky, Peter T.; Rickman, Hans (Eds.)
Publisher: Springer (May 2006)

"In 1908 an atmospheric explosion in northern Siberia released energy equivalent to 15 Mton of TNT. Can a comparable or larger NEO affect us again? When the next NEO strikes Earth will it be large enough to destroy a city? Will the climate change significantly? Can archaeology and anthropology provide insights into the expected cultural responses with NEO interactions? Does society have a true grasp of the actual risks involved? Is the Great Depression a good model for the economic collapse that could follow a NEO catastrophe? This volume provides a necessary link between various disciplines and comet/asteroid impacts."

Link: Springer Press

Link: Amazon

A Child's Guide to Asteroids Hitting the Earth (2 new books)

There are two new books aimed at younger readers about asteroids impacting the earth. One book is from Rosalind Mist is aimed at children between 9 and 11 years of age (grades 4 through 6). Another book from Peggy J. Parks is for even younger readers (ages between 4 and 8).

"Could an Asteroid Hit the Earth?: Asteroids, Comets, Meteors, and More" (from the Stargazers' Guides series)
Author: Rosalind Mist
Publisher: Heinemann (May 31, 2006)

"Could an asteroid hit Earth? The answer is 'yes'...and some already have! Craters here on Earth were made a long time ago by objects from space colliding with Earth. Could it happen again? Find out in this book. Detailed facts and photos help to answer your questions about the stars and beyond."

Link: Publisher


"Killer Asteroids"
(Kidhaven Science Library) (Library Binding)
Author: Peggy J. Parks
Publisher: Blackbirch Press (May 31, 2006)

"Earth is constantly bombarded by debris from space. Tons of ice fragments, dust, and meteorites fall from the sky every day, but most of the debris burns up in the atmosphere before it can cause any harm. Large asteroids are much less common -- but they are a deadly threat if they reach the ground. This book explains what asteroids are, how they form, and damage they have caused in the past -- including the scientific belief that a massive asteroid killed off the dinosaurs."

Link: Kidhaven Press

Link: Kidhaven Science Library

Link: Amazon

24 April 2006

ISDC 2006 Papers on NEOs and Planetary Defense

There will be a Near Earth Objects (NEO) session at the 25th Annual International Space Development Conference (ISDC) 2006 take will take place in Los Angeles, CA from May 4-7, 2006 (Sheraton Gateway Hotel). I will be chair for the (NEO) session.

- Multiple speakers will be at the overall meeting including:

Rusty Schweickart
Lunar module pilot for Apollo 9 and Chairman, B612 Foundation
Speaking Time: Luncheon Speaker - Saturday, May 6, 2006 at 12:00 pm (Century Room, Sheraton Gateway Hotel)

Don Yeomans
Senior Research Scientist, Supervisor for the Solar System Dynamics Group, and Manager of NASA's Near-Earth Object Program Office
Speaking Time: Small Bodies / Near Earth Objects (along with Andrew Westphal) - Saturday, May 6, 2006 at 11:00 am (Grand Salon, Sheraton Gateway Hotel)

- Session: Near Earth Objects
Chair: A.C. Charania
Date/Time: Sunday, May 7, 2006 from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm (Hermosa Room, Sheraton Gateway Hotel)

These are currently several papers in the NEO session:
- "A Process to Prioritize Mitigation Techniques Against Near Earth Objects" by A.C. Charania
- "Operational Spaceflight, NEO Resources, and Planetary Defense" by Edward Wright
- "Evaluate the Asteroid Threat" by Carlton L. Rhoades
- "Russia's Explorations of the Moon in the Seventies" by Boris Girshovich
- "Mitigate the Asteroid Threat" by Carlton L. Rhoades

Link: ISDC 2006

Link: ISDC 2006 NEO Panel (with abstracts)

15 April 2006

Asteroid Itokawa and the International Space Station (ISS) - to scale

Link: Spaceref - "How Big (Small) Things In Space Really Are"

July 3, 2006: Close Approach of Asteroid 2004 XP14 (Misses by 1.1 Lunar Distances)

There will be an upcoming close approach on July 3, 2006. Asteroid 2004 XP14 will miss the Earth by 1.1 LDs (lunar distances) at a velocity of about 17 km/s. It's diameter is estimated to be between 410 to 920 meters. Goldstone plans to make radar observations on July 3, 4, and 6, 2006 (they are requesting astrometry and physical observations).

Link: Orbit Diagram for 2004 XP14

Link: NEODyS information on 2004 XP14

Link: Goldstone Asteroid Observation Schedule

Arecibo Radar to Point Towards Asteroid Apophis in Early May 2006

From May 6-8, 2006 the Arecibo radio telescope will be obtaining data from asteroid 99942 Apophis. The next good observation window for Arecibo may be in January 2013.

From A/CC's minor object news:
"Arecibo is requesting photometry -- 'physical observations (lightcurves, colors, etc.)' -- to help prepare for radar observation on 6-8 May 2006. About astrometry, NEODyS notes that 'Only very accurate observations are useful' for risk analysis."

Link: Arecibo

Link: Radar Refinement of the Orbit of Asteroid 99942 Apophis (2004 MN4)

Link: Minor Object News

05 April 2006

Update from ESA Advanced Concepts Team on NEO Deflection Missions

"ESA commissioned a number of threat evaluation and mission studies through its General Studies Programme (GSP). In July 2004 the preliminary phase was completed when a panel of experts appointed by ESA recommended giving the Don Quijote asteroid-deflecting mission concept maximum priority for implementation.

Now it is time for industry to put forward their best design solutions for the mission. Following an invitation to tender and the subsequent evaluation process, three industrial teams have been awarded a contract to carry out the mission phase-A studies.:

- A team with Alcatel Alenia Space as prime contractor includes subcontractors and consultants from across Europe and Canada; Alcatel Alenia Space developed the Huygens Titan probe and is currently working on the ExoMars mission
- A consortium led by EADS Astrium, which includes Deimos Space from Spain and consultants from several European countries, brings their experience of working on the design of many successful ESA interplanetary missions such as Rosetta, Mars and Venus Express
- A team led by QinetiQ (UK), which includes companies and partners in Sweden and Belgium, draws on their expertise in mini and micro satellites including ESA’s SMART-1 and Proba projects

This month the three teams began work and a critical milestone will take place in October when the studies will be reviewed by ESA with the support of an international panel of experts. The results of this phase will be available next year."

"Asteroids: treasures of the past and a threat to the future"
Andrés Gálvez
Advanced Concepts and Studies Office
April 3, 2006


02 April 2006

Association of Space Explorers (ASE) and NEOs

The NEO Committee (basically led by Rusty Schweickart) of the Association of Space Explorers (organization of those people who have gone in space) has several documents related to the recent United States COPUOS meeting including the presentation given at the U.N. meeting, synopsis and actual paper behind the presentation. I have also included links to their previous open letter on NEOs and their Report to the Royal Aeronautical Society.

- ASE website

Link: The Association of Space Explorers (ASE)

Link: ASE Open Letter (PDF)

Link: Report to the Royal Aeronautical Society (PDF)

- COPUOS Reports

Link: Synopsis (MS WORD)

Link: Full Report (MS WORD)

Link: Presentation to COPUOS (PDF)
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.