SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Carmen Gonzalez, Sean Houghton, Glenn Rossman, Ignacio M. Llorente, Xenia von Wedel

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
We are reaching the end of the beginning with WebRTC, and real systems using this technology have begun to appear. One challenge that faces every WebRTC deployment (in some form or another) is identity management. For example, if you have an existing service – possibly built on a variety of different PaaS/SaaS offerings – and you want to add real-time communications you are faced with a challenge relating to user management, authentication, authorization, and validation. Service providers will w...
"ElasticBox is an enterprise company that makes it very easy for developers and IT ops to collaborate to develop, build and deploy applications on any cloud - private, public or hybrid," stated Monish Sharma, VP of Customer Success at ElasticBox, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The term culture has had a polarizing effect among DevOps supporters. Some propose that culture change is critical for success with DevOps, but are remiss to define culture. Some talk about a DevOps culture but then reference activities that could lead to culture change and there are those that talk about culture change as a set of behaviors that need to be adopted by those in IT. There is no question that businesses successful in adopting a DevOps mindset have seen departmental culture change, ...
Explosive growth in connected devices. Enormous amounts of data for collection and analysis. Critical use of data for split-second decision making and actionable information. All three are factors in making the Internet of Things a reality. Yet, any one factor would have an IT organization pondering its infrastructure strategy. How should your organization enhance its IT framework to enable an Internet of Things implementation? In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, James Kirkland, Chief Ar...
WebRTC defines no default signaling protocol, causing fragmentation between WebRTC silos. SIP and XMPP provide possibilities, but come with considerable complexity and are not designed for use in a web environment. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Matthew Hodgson, technical co-founder of the Matrix.org, discussed how Matrix is a new non-profit Open Source Project that defines both a new HTTP-based standard for VoIP & IM signaling and provides reference implementations.
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...
DevOps Summit 2015 New York, 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 it is now accepting Keynote Proposals. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long development cycles that produce software that is obsolete...
The definition of IoT is not new, in fact it’s been around for over a decade. What has changed is the public's awareness that the technology we use on a daily basis has caught up on the vision of an always on, always connected world. If you look into the details of what comprises the IoT, you’ll see that it includes everything from cloud computing, Big Data analytics, “Things,” Web communication, applications, network, storage, etc. It is essentially including everything connected online from ha...
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...
"SAP had made a big transition into the cloud as we believe it has significant value for our customers, drives innovation and is easy to consume. When you look at the SAP portfolio, SAP HANA is the underlying platform and it powers all of our platforms and all of our analytics," explained Thorsten Leiduck, VP ISVs & Digital Commerce at SAP, 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.
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.
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...
Connected devices and the Internet of Things are getting significant momentum in 2014. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Hunter, Chief Scientist & Technology Evangelist at Greenwave Systems, examined three key elements that together will drive mass adoption of the IoT before the end of 2015. The first element is the recent advent of robust open source protocols (like AllJoyn and WebRTC) that facilitate M2M communication. The second is broad availability of flexible, cost-effective ...
Scott Jenson leads a project called The Physical Web within the Chrome team at Google. Project members are working to take the scalability and openness of the web and use it to talk to the exponentially exploding range of smart devices. Nearly every company today working on the IoT comes up with the same basic solution: use my server and you'll be fine. But if we really believe there will be trillions of these devices, that just can't scale. We need a system that is open a scalable and by using ...
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...