The Rosetta Lander (PHILAE) mission: landing on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko

The Rosetta Lander, Philae, landed on 67P/Churyumov Gerasimenko on 12 November 2014. Before this could happen, a landing site had to be selected within just 2 months, based on data from the Rosetta Orbiter instruments and analyses on flight dynamics and illumination profiles. Philae was programmed to perform a First Scientific Sequence, immediately following touch down, and then enter its long term science mode.

Scientific Premises and Technological Challenges of Deep Space Round Trip Exploration to Jupiter Trojans and Even Further

solar sail

Thanks to recent technological advancement of astronomical observatories, fainer, more distant Jupiter Trojan asteroids have been detected and studied statistically or/and physically in detail than ever while planetary migration hypotheses have made them one of the most crucial witnesses to prove or disprove such competing concepts among the solar system formation theories.

Is Planetary Defense Feasible - DE-STAR: A Planetary Defense and Exploration System

death starDr. Lubin will discuss how his team has proposed an orbital planetary defense system that is capable of beamed power allowing a number of directed energy (DE) possibilities including planetary defense, propulsion allowing relativistic probes and interstellar communications using existing technologies. Recent developments in photonics allow such a system whereas even a decade ago it would have been simply science fiction. 

Asteroid Radar Astronomy, Spacecraft Missions, and the Impact Hazard

asteroid astronomyThe near-Earth asteroids (NEAs) are a population of objects on orbits that pass near that of the Earth.  Many NEAs are attractive targets for spacecraft missions, and NEAs are also important because some of them will eventually hit Earth.  Both future NEA missions and the impact hazard motivate understanding the sizes, shapes, surface properties, and trajectories of as many objects as

To The Asteroids - and Beyond!

deep space

Tsiolkovsii and Goddard dreamed of the day when we would have access to the resources of the asteroids. 

Postcards from Chelyabinsk

Meteor astronomer Dr. Peter Jenniskens participated in a two-week Russian Academy of Sciences fact-finding mission to Chelyabinsk, just three weeks after the event, to collect data on the February 15 asteroid impact and the extent of the damage caused by its shock wave. Dr. Jenniskens will talk about his trip to Russia and give a report on the first hand accounts of the impact.

The Sentinel B612 Telescope - Finding Asteroids Before They Find Us

sentinel orbitWe know how to deflect asteroids, but our technology is useless if we do not scan the skies to look for asteroids to know well in advance if one is on a collision course with Earth.  The Sentinel Space Telescope, the first privately supported deep space mission, is designed to do just that and to enable humanity to protect our planet from future asteroid impacts.   Sentinel is an infrared space telescope to be placed into solar orbit in 201

Human Missions to Near Earth Asteroids: An Update on NASA's Current Status and Proposed Activities for Small Body Exploration

Recently the current U.S. presidential administration directed NASA to include near-Earth asteroids (NEAs) as destinations for future human exploration with the goal of sending astronauts to a NEA in the mid to late 2020s. These missions would be the first human expeditions to interplanetary bodies beyond the Earth-Moon system and would prove useful for testing technologies required for human missions to Mars, Phobos and Deimos, and other Solar System destinations.

The Origins of Chondrules and Chondrites

It is clear that the chondritic meteorites - those having essentially solar composition - carry unique information about the origin and early history of the solar system and the materials from which the planets formed. Yet it is a highly complex record that centuries of work and highly sophisticated modern techniques have not been able to decipher. Even the most fundamental issues, the origin of the chondrite classes and the origin of the chondrules that distinguish the meteorites from other materials, are still disputed.

The Sutter's Mill meteorite fall in California's Gold Country on 22 April 2012

On April 22, 2012, a 1/4 Hiroshima bomb detonation was heard in a wide area around Lake Tahoe. A small few meter sized asteroid crashed in our atmosphere, broke in fragments, pieces of which were seen falling down over the Colama/Lotus region by Doppler weather radar. This is right above Sutter's Mill, where the first gold was discovered by James Marshall on January 24, 1848. This led to the California Gold Rush that shaped our state as it is today.


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