My collage of all the asteroids and comets visited by spacecraft is probably the single most popular image I have ever posted on this blog. I've now updated it to be in color and to include Toutatis.
The Chang'E 2 mission flyby of Toutatis succeeded in acquiring images. Oh my goodness, did they succeed. These, in combination with the incredible radar images still being acquired from Goldstone and innumerable optical observations, make Toutatis one of the best-studied asteroids in the solar system.
Near-Earth asteroid 4179 Toutatis will be passing within 7 million kilometers of Earth on December 12. Both radio telescopes and the Chang'E 2 spacecraft will be acquiring images.
Calling (Really Serious) Asteroid Hunters
New Shoemaker NEO Grant Call for Proposals
I am happy to announce a new call for proposals for The Planetary Society’s Gene Shoemaker Near Earth Object (NEO) grant program, which is celebrating its 15th Anniversary. Proposals are due Feb. 4, 2013.
PlanetVac: Sucking Up Planetary Regolith
A New Planetary Society Project
Learn about the Planetary Society’s newest project: PlanetVac, with Honeybee Robotics, aims to prototype and test in a huge vacuum chamber a new way to sample planetary surfaces that could be used for sample return or for in situ instruments.
Continuing my writeup of notes from last week's Division for Planetary Sciences meeting: presentations on the risks of future asteroid impacts. How much risk do we face, and what are the appropriate actions to take in the face of that risk?
Posted by Bruce Betts on 2012/10/02 05:54 CDT
Gary Hug used his Shoemaker NEO grant provided camera to find 2012 SY49 which flew by Earth at about two lunar distances last week. The tens of meters wide asteroid is a low-probability possible Earth impactor in the future.
Saving the World: Established 1997
The Shoemaker NEO Grants at 15
The Planetary Society Shoemaker NEO grants celebrate their 15th anniversary of helping to find and track near Earth asteroids. Here's a quick review of the program, and updates on our four multiple-grant winners.
I have a couple of updates on my post from yesterday: confirmation that Chang'E 2 is indeed gone from L2, and more specifics on encounter dates with Toutatis.
According to a Chinese spaceflight forum, Chang'E program chief scientist Ouyang Ziyuan recently announced that Chang'E 2 has departed the Sun-Earth L2 point and is now en route to asteroid 4179 Toutatis!
Posted by Bruce Betts on 2012/05/08 03:43 CDT
Evidence continues to pile up that the Rio Vichada structure in Colombia is indeed the largest impact structure in South America.
With a new CCD camera configured to shoot rapid, short exposures bought with a Planetary Society Shoemaker NEO Grant we caught near-Earth asteroid 2012 DA14.
Posted by Mat Kaplan on 2012/03/06 10:18 CST
A new installment of our "Snapshots" video series examines the threat posed by asteroids on collision courses with our home planet. Emily Lakdawalla explains why it's so important to find, understand and learn to deflect these potential civilization enders.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/11/16 02:58 CST
Last week JPL released two animations of asteroid 2005 YU55 made from the radar data acquired by Goldstone's 70-meter radio dish.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/11/09 06:52 CST
Anticipating the close flyby of asteroid 2005 YU55 yesterday, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory invited media to tour Goldstone, one of three facilities that make up NASA's Deep Space Network. I've always wanted to see these massive radio dishes up close, so I jumped at the chance!
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/11/08 03:45 CST
Unless you've been living under a rock you've probably heard that there is a relatively large (400-meter) asteroid passing closer to Earth than the orbit of the Moon today -- in just a few minutes, as a matter of fact.
Posted by Louis D. Friedman on 2011/09/19 11:55 CDT
I spent much of the past week attending the Caltech Space Challenge, a student-organized international competition to design a human mission to a Near-Earth asteroid. It was a great week, and one of the most positive, upbeat and hopeful programs I have participated in concerning the future of space exploration.