SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Adine Deford, Cynthia Dunlop, Harry Trott, Xenia von Wedel, Peter Silva

News Feed Item

The Planetary Society Takes Central Role in Asteroid Detection, Tracking, and Characterization

Neo Shoemaker Grants Make Historical Discoveries Providing Vital Funding to International Asteroid-Tracking Community

PASADENA, CA and FLAGSTAFF, AZ--(Marketwired - April 18, 2013) - At a major planetary defense conference in Flagstaff, AZ last evening, the Planetary Society announced the winners of its 2013 Shoemaker Near Earth Object (NEO) grants, and was recognized itself for the Society's long history of international leadership in the detection and mitigation of threatening asteroids, and other planetary discoveries.

"As the Chelyabinsk impact demonstrated, asteroid impacts happen; they are dangerous, destructive, with no regard for human life," said Bill Nye, CEO of the world's leading advocacy and education organization dedicated to the advancement of planetary science. "Tonight we honor citizen scientists, amateur and professional astronomers who make tens to hundreds of thousands of follow-up NEO observations each year, and their work is the key to determining NEO orbits and protecting life on Earth."

"On Feb. 15, we also witnessed the near-miss of 40 meter Asteroid 2012 DA14, which didn't impact Earth, but came within 17, 000 miles of our planet. It was a wake-up call to the importance of planetary science to human existence, and the importance of the amateur astronomy community" added Bruce Betts, Director of Projects for The Planetary Society. "Asteroid DA-14 was detected by Jaime Noman, 2010 winner of a Planetary Society Shoemaker Grant, which provided the camera that enabled the discovery through its ability to find fast moving objects."

So, what do the discovery of Asteroid 2012 DA14, and the most productive observatory for follow-on (orbit determining) NEO observations have in common? Both are made possible by Planetary Society Gene Shoemaker NEO Grants, now in their 16th year. The Shoemaker NEO grants not only help provide critical information, but also they are crucial to the expansion of the community of advanced amateur astronomers and observers making vital contributions. The Planetary Society also invests time and materials to educate the global community about the threats of NEOs, through participation as a Non-Government Organization on Action Team 14 of the United Nations Near Earth Object Working Group, where Dr. Betts is a member of the action team.

The Shoemaker NEO awards typically are awarded in the range of $3,000-$10,000 each. During the past 16 years, the Planetary Society has funded 43 awards to 35 individuals in 16 countries on five continents. Important discoveries include the co-discovery of Apophis, discovery of the naked eye Comet Lulin, and the asteroid 2012 DA14. Information on past winners is provided at the Planetary Society website.

Winners of the 2013 Shoemaker NEO Grants

16 Proposers from 10 countries applied for the Planetary Society 2013 Shoemaker NEO Grants. Five winners were awarded a total of $34,307:

  • ROBERT HOLMES, Astronomical Research Institute (ARI), Westfield, IL, awarded $6,662 for a Santa Barbara Instruments Group STX CCD camera to enhance their .76m telescope for follow-up tracking of NEO asteroids whose positions are not well known.
  • ROBERT STEPHENS, Center for Solar System Studios (CS3), Landers, CA, awarded $8,065 for purchase of a dedicated Finger Lakes CCD camera for a .4m telescope to vastly extend the observational nights of the telescope, critical to determining properties of asteroids.
  • DONALD PRAY, Sugarloaf Mountain Observatory, South Deerfield, MA, awarded $8,070 for the mirror, structure, and focuser of a new .5m telescope that will enhance detection of NEO trajectories.
  • ALBINO CARBOGNANI, Astronomical Observatory of the Autonomous Region of the Aosta Valley, Italy, awarded $9,120 for improvements to their .81m telescope, providing enhanced sensitivity and wider field of view, enabling more asteroid position and physical properties measurements.
  • GARY HUG, Sandlot Observatory, Kansas, awarded $2,390 for computers and software that will allow more observations and reliability with his .56 telescope. 

The Planetary Society sincerely thanked its expert international advisory panel: Timothy Spahr, Director of the Minor Planet Center, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, USA; Alan Harris, MoreData! USA; Carl Hergenrother, University of Arizona, USA; Petr Pravec, Ondrejov Observatory, Czech Republic; and Duncan Steel, University of Canterbury, New Zealand -- and gratefully thanked its Society Members for their financial support to make these Shoemaker Grants possible.

About The Planetary Society

The Planetary Society has inspired millions of people to explore other worlds and seek other life. Today, its international membership makes the non-governmental Planetary Society the largest space interest group in the world. Carl Sagan, Bruce Murray and Louis Friedman founded The Planetary Society in 1980. Bill Nye, a long time member of the Planetary Society's Board, serves currently as CEO.

The Planetary Society began the Gene Shoemaker NEO grant program in 1997 and it was named for pioneering planetary geologist Gene Shoemaker, whose lifetime of discoveries have significantly helped scientists to understand the process by which asteroids impact planets, and the nature of the NEO population. Funding for the Shoemaker NEO awards is provided through generous contributions of The Planetary Society members and supporters and to date more than $270,000 has been provided.

Photos and more information on the winners are available at: http://www.planetary.org/neogrants

Dr. Betts' blog: http://www.planetary.org/blogs/bruce-betts/saving-the-world-shoemaker.html

Livestream archive of the Planetary Defense Conference panel: http://livestream.com/pdc2013 

More Stories By Marketwired .

Copyright © 2009 Marketwired. All rights reserved. All the news releases provided by Marketwired are copyrighted. Any forms of copying other than an individual user's personal reference without express written permission is prohibited. Further distribution of these materials is strictly forbidden, including but not limited to, posting, emailing, faxing, archiving in a public database, redistributing via a computer network or in a printed form.

Latest Stories
The 3rd International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that its Call for Papers is now open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.
"We help companies that are using a lot of Software as a Service. We help companies manage and gain visibility into what people are using inside the company and decide to secure them or use standards to lock down or to embrace the adoption of SaaS inside the company," explained Scott Kriz, Co-founder and CEO of Bitium, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 15th Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
15th Cloud Expo, which took place Nov. 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, expanded the conference content of @ThingsExpo, Big Data Expo, and DevOps Summit to include two developer events. IBM held a Bluemix Developer Playground on November 5 and ElasticBox held a Hackathon on November 6. Both events took place on the expo floor. The Bluemix Developer Playground, for developers of all levels, highlighted the ease of use of Bluemix, its services and functionalit...
The 4th International DevOps Summit, co-located with16th International Cloud Expo – being held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY – announces that its Call for Papers is now open. Born out of proven success in agile development, cloud computing, and process automation, DevOps is a macro trend you cannot afford to miss. From showcase success stories from early adopters and web-scale businesses, DevOps is expanding to organizations of all sizes, including the world's large...
Some developers believe that monitoring is a function of the operations team. Some operations teams firmly believe that monitoring the systems they maintain is sufficient to run the business successfully. Most of them are wrong. The complexity of today's applications have gone far and beyond the capabilities of "traditional" system-level monitoring tools and approaches and requires much broader knowledge of business and applications as a whole. The goal of DevOps is to connect all aspects of app...
SAP is delivering break-through innovation combined with fantastic user experience powered by the market-leading in-memory technology, SAP HANA. In his General Session at 15th Cloud Expo, Thorsten Leiduck, VP ISVs & Digital Commerce, SAP, discussed how SAP and partners provide cloud and hybrid cloud solutions as well as real-time Big Data offerings that help companies of all sizes and industries run better. SAP launched an application challenge to award the most innovative SAP HANA and SAP HANA...
When an enterprise builds a hybrid IaaS cloud connecting its data center to one or more public clouds, security is often a major topic along with the other challenges involved. Security is closely intertwined with the networking choices made for the hybrid cloud. Traditional networking approaches for building a hybrid cloud try to kludge together the enterprise infrastructure with the public cloud. Consequently this approach requires risky, deep "surgery" including changes to firewalls, subnets...
Want to enable self-service provisioning of application environments in minutes that mirror production? Can you automatically provide rich data with code-level detail back to the developers when issues occur in production? In his session at DevOps Summit, David Tesar, Microsoft Technical Evangelist on Microsoft Azure and DevOps, will discuss how to accomplish this and more utilizing technologies such as Microsoft Azure, Visual Studio online, and Application Insights in this demo-heavy session.
DevOps is all about agility. However, you don't want to be on a high-speed bus to nowhere. The right DevOps approach controls velocity with a tight feedback loop that not only consists of operational data but also incorporates business context. With a business context in the decision making, the right business priorities are incorporated, which results in a higher value creation. In his session at DevOps Summit, Todd Rader, Solutions Architect at AppDynamics, discussed key monitoring techniques...
Cultural, regulatory, environmental, political and economic (CREPE) conditions over the past decade are creating cross-industry solution spaces that require processes and technologies from both the Internet of Things (IoT), and Data Management and Analytics (DMA). These solution spaces are evolving into Sensor Analytics Ecosystems (SAE) that represent significant new opportunities for organizations of all types. Public Utilities throughout the world, providing electricity, natural gas and water,...
The security devil is always in the details of the attack: the ones you've endured, the ones you prepare yourself to fend off, and the ones that, you fear, will catch you completely unaware and defenseless. The Internet of Things (IoT) is nothing if not an endless proliferation of details. It's the vision of a world in which continuous Internet connectivity and addressability is embedded into a growing range of human artifacts, into the natural world, and even into our smartphones, appliances, a...
How do APIs and IoT relate? The answer is not as simple as merely adding an API on top of a dumb device, but rather about understanding the architectural patterns for implementing an IoT fabric. There are typically two or three trends: Exposing the device to a management framework Exposing that management framework to a business centric logic Exposing that business layer and data to end users. This last trend is the IoT stack, which involves a new shift in the separation of what stuff happe...
The Internet of Things is tied together with a thin strand that is known as time. Coincidentally, at the core of nearly all data analytics is a timestamp. When working with time series data there are a few core principles that everyone should consider, especially across datasets where time is the common boundary. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Scott, Director of Enterprise Strategy & Architecture at MapR Technologies, discussed single-value, geo-spatial, and log time series dat...
An entirely new security model is needed for the Internet of Things, or is it? Can we save some old and tested controls for this new and different environment? In his session at @ThingsExpo, New York's at the Javits Center, Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, reviewed hands-on lessons with IoT devices and reveal a new risk balance you might not expect. Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, has more than nineteen years' experience managing global security operations and asse...
The Internet of Things will greatly expand the opportunities for data collection and new business models driven off of that data. In her session at @ThingsExpo, Esmeralda Swartz, CMO of MetraTech, discussed how for this to be effective you not only need to have infrastructure and operational models capable of utilizing this new phenomenon, but increasingly service providers will need to convince a skeptical public to participate. Get ready to show them the money!