Near Earth Asteroids as Targets for Human and Robotic Exploration


Wednesday, January 05 2011 - 12:00 pm, PST
David Morrison
Director of the Carl Sagan Center for Life in the Universe, SETI Institute

Near-Earth Asteroids (NEAs) are both enemies (that can collide with our planet) and friends (future targets for human exploration missions). As the Spaceguard Survey nears its goal of finding 90% of NEAs larger than 1 km, public and government interest turns to the much more numerous sub-kilometer NEAs. These small asteroids are the most likely to hit Earth and are also the designated NASA target for astronaut visits in the late 2020s. This talk addresses our knowledge (and ignorance) of the physical properties of the sub-km NEAs and discusses proposed space missions to reconnoiter these targets.

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