Tag: asteroids

Hayabusa2 Asteroid Named After Dragon’s Castle


Hayabusa1TOKYO (JAXA PR) — The asteroid 1999 JU3, a target of the Asteroid Explorer “Hayabusa2,” was named “Ryugu”.

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) conducted a naming proposal campaign between July 22 and August 31, 2015. The result of the careful study of proposed names by the selection panel of pundits is as follows.

1. Selected Name: Ryugu
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SwRI Wins $3 Million NASA Contract for Mission to Jupiter’s Trojan Asteroids


BOULDER, Colo., Oct. 2, 2015 (SwRI PR) —A Southwest Research Institute proposal to study primitive asteroids orbiting near Jupiter that could give insights into the origins of the solar system is one of five science investigations selected as a possible future NASA mission.

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NASA Narrows Down List of Possible Future Planetary Missions

Asteroid Eros

Asteroid Eros

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA has selected five science investigations for refinement during the next year as a first step in choosing one or two missions for flight opportunities as early as 2020. The submitted proposals would study Venus, near-Earth objects and a variety of asteroids.

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NASA Terminates Space Act Agreement With B612 Foundation


NASA has terminated an unfunded Space Act Agreement with the B612 Foundation, a private organization whose goal is to launch a spacecraft called Sentinel that would conduct a comprehensive search for asteroids.

Its primary purpose was obtaining NASA technical consulting and agreement for B612 to use NASA tracking facilities for Sentinel after it was launched.  In return, B612 would keep NASA informed of the spacecraft’s technical characteristics and progress and deliver data from the spacecraft to the Minor Planet Center….

NASA spokesmen Dwayne Brown and Dave Steitz confirmed via email that NASA terminated the agreement with B612.  Steitz explained that B612 had not met an important milestone in the SAA — starting Sentinel’s development — and NASA therefore terminated the agreement because “due to limited resources, NASA can no longer afford to reserve funds” to support the project.  “NASA believes it is in the best interest of both parties to terminate this agreement but remains open to future opportunities to collaborate with the B612 Foundation,” he added.

B612 Vice President for Communications Diane Murphy also confirmed the termination, but said NASA had invited them to return to obtain another SAA when Sentinel’s launch date is closer.   She noted that “our timeline is dependent on our fundraising — and while that is going well – it is hard … and taking longer than we first anticipated.”   She provided a statement from Lu asserting that the “status of the SAA in no way changes the resolve of the B612 Foundation to move forward. … We will continue to work independently and together with NASA, the US Congress and others to see our goals realized.”

According to data compiled by Pro Publica, the foundation became tax exempt in July 2013. The foundation’s tax return for 2013, which is the most recent available, shows it received $1,618,005 in contributions that year while spending $1,556,227. Net assets at the end of the year totaled $195,931.

Foundation President Ed Lu received $240,000 in compensation in 2013. Secretary and Chief Operating Officer Danica Rema received $209,443 for the year. The tax return also lists an additional $271,277 in other salaries and wages. The return does not state who received this compensation. Almost half of it — $132,171 — is attributed to fund-raising expenses.

Elon Musk & The End of the World as We Know It


Elon Musk wants to build a colony on Mars to ensure the human race will survive if Earth is somehow wiped out. He argues that putting all of humanity’s eggs in one basket — as they have been for millions of years — is too big a risk.

Is he right? Is settlement on a cold, barren lifeless world that’s trying to kill us six ways to Sunday the only way to ensure our long-term survival? Or would it be better to focus on the actual threats at hand?

Let’s take a closer to look at all the things that could potentially wipe humanity off the face of the Earth. It’s not very pretty. So, if you’re squeamish, stop here. Some of the stuff that follows is kind of disturbing.

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NASA Selects Two New Deep Space CubeSat Missions



WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — Good things really do come in small packages.

When we think of space satellites that assist with communications, weather monitoring and GPS here on Earth, we likely picture them as being quite large—many are as big as a school bus and weigh several tons. Yet there’s a class of smaller satellites that’s growing in popularity. These miniaturized satellites, known as nanosatellites or CubeSats, can fit in the palm of your hand and are providing new opportunities for space science.

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Deep Space Industries Appoints Chief Engineer

Grant Bonin

Grant Bonin

MOFFETT FIELD, Calif. (DSI PR) — Deep Space Industries (DSI) announced today that renowned spacecraft designer and engineer Grant Bonin will be joining the company in the role of Chief Engineer. Mr. Bonin has 11 successful spacecraft in Earth orbit and will now drive the company’s ramp up to its first asteroid missions.

“It’s go time!” exclaimed Rick Tumlinson, Chair of Deep Space Industries. “We have the vision, the goal and core plan. With Grant, we now have the full leadership team to execute and succeed. This is the first in a series of exciting announcements you’ll see from DSI in the coming year. On our current growth path and timetable DSI’s spacecraft will be flying out to an asteroid before 2020.”

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Hedgehog Robots Hop, Tumble in Microgravity

'Hedgehog' Robots Hop, Tumble in Microgravity While a Mars rover can't operate upside down, the Hedgehog robot can function regardless of which side lands up. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Stanford)

While a Mars rover can’t operate upside down, the Hedgehog robot can function regardless of which side lands up. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Stanford)

PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — Hopping, tumbling and flipping over are not typical maneuvers you would expect from a spacecraft exploring other worlds. Traditional Mars rovers, for example, roll around on wheels, and they can’t operate upside-down. But on a small body, such as an asteroid or a comet, the low-gravity conditions and rough surfaces make traditional driving all the more hazardous.

Enter Hedgehog: a new concept for a robot that is specifically designed to overcome the challenges of traversing small bodies. The project is being jointly developed by researchers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California; Stanford University in Stanford, California; and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge.

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JAXA Wants You — Yes You! — to Name Hayabusa2’s Target Asteroid

Hayabusa2 approach target. (Credit: JAXA)

Hayabusa2 approach target. (Credit: JAXA)

TOKYO (JAXA PR) — The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) started invite of naming proposals for the near Earth asteroid 1999 JU3, which is the target of Hayabusa2, the mission to return samples from the asteroid.

  1. Fill out the application form below before the deadline, August 31, 2015 at 10:00 a.m. (Japan Standard Time).
  2. No conditions are required. Applying multiple times is also possible.
  3. Asteroid naming guidelines:
    Asteroids can’t be named just anything; the International Astronomical Union IAU) has rules. The following are conditions stipulated by IAU for naming an asteroid.

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Report Finds Lots of Valuable Mineral Resources in Space


Heinlein Prize Trust space mineralsSAN JOSE, Calif., July 17, 2015 (IAA PR) — A study released today by the International Academy of Astronautics found that space mineral resources (SMR) can benefit humanity and serve as an economic “game changer,” especially in developing countries.

The study, the most comprehensive to date, examined the latest technologies, economics, law and policy related to SMR opportunities and included several recommendations to space agencies and analysis of options to advance this exploration.

“This study is not about how to leverage space mineral resources, but rather how best to leverage them,” according to Art Dula, co-editor of the study and a faculty member of the Houston Law School where he teaches space law. Dula is also Trustee of the Heinlein Prize Trust, one of the organizations participating in the study. “Improving the world we know today will be possible by leveraging the phenomenal resources available in our solar system,” he said.

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