Astronomer Timothy Spahr directs the Minor Planet Center, the global clearinghouse for asteroids, comets and other relatively small objects in the solar system, including moons. He also coordinates the Society's Shoemaker NEO grant program.
Arecibo Observatory is known for its 1000-foot diameter telescope and its appearances in Goldeneye and Contact. Aside from battling Bond villains and driving red diesel Jeeps around the telescope (grousing at the site director about the funding status of projects is optional), several hundred hours a year of telescope time at Arecibo go toward radar studies of asteroids.
Traveling from one alien world to another, Dawn is reliably powering its way through the main asteroid belt with its ion propulsion system. Vesta falls farther and farther behind as the spacecraft gently and patiently reshapes its orbit around the sun, aiming for a 2015 rendezvous with dwarf planet Ceres.
A large asteroid is passing reasonably close to Earth in a few hours, and astronomers at the great radio telescopes at Goldstone and Arecibo are zapping it. The latest discovery: QE2, like many asteroids, is a binary.
First part of a 3 part wrap up to April's Planetary Defense Conference: a very brief review of the status of research in asteroid threat related fields based on the conference, report on special activities at the conference, and links to video and audio related to the conference.
Partnering with our friends from The Planetary Society, the Space Generation Advisory Council (SGAC), whose members hail from all over the globe, is bringing you an update on our activities and something you can join in on—at least if you are a student or young professional aged 18–35.
An exciting new option to enhance NASA's OSIRIS-REx asteroid mission has been proposed by Steve Chesley at JPL. The ISIS spacecraft would impact asteroid Bennu to expose its interior structure to OSIRIS-REx.
Really cool movies from Jim Richardson propose to explain how the same physics of impact cratering can produce such differently-appearing surfaces as those of the Moon, large asteroids like Eros, and teeny ones like Itokawa.
Bruce Betts, Mat Kaplan, and asteroid tracker Robert Holmes on the Planetary Society Weekly Google Hangout. Mat discussed and showed pictures from his trip to the giant ALMA observatory and we'll be joined by asteroid tracker extraordinaire, Robert Holmes.