An Asteroid Is Coming to a Planet Near You

2012 DA14
Fast Image Trail of Asteroid 2012 DA!14
Image Credit: Courtesy Jaime Nomen, La Sagra Observatory

On 15 February 2013, asteroid 2012 DA14 will pass within 22,500 kilometers of the Earth. Geostationary satellites orbit 35,800 kilometers above the surface.

This asteroid is roughly the same size as the object that burst over Tunguska Siberia in 1908.

Our friends at The Planetary Society provided the funds that allowed La Sagra Observatory in southern Spain to upgrade one of their telescopes with a new camera capable tracking fast moving objects like 2012 DA14, and determining their orbit. The new instrument has found more than ten Near-Earth Objects (NEO), along with a previously unknown comet.

The key to the new discoveries involve fast read-out Charge-Coupled Devices (CCD) and revised image filtering software used with the space-junk tracking program at La Sagra.


LCROSS – IMPACT Imaged by Diviner on LRO

From the UCLA Diviner LRO blog:

The LRO Diviner instrument obtained infrared observations of the LCROSS impact this morning. LRO flew by the LCROSS Centaur impact site 90 seconds after impact at a distance of ~80 km. Diviner was commanded to observe the impact site on eight successive orbits, and obtained a series of thermal maps before and after the impact at approximately two hour intervals at an angle of approximately 48 degrees off nadir. In this viewing geometry, the spatial footprint of each Diviner detector was roughly 300 by 700 meters.

Diviner Impact Images of LCROSS

Credit: NASA / GSFC / UCLA

From the Planetary Society Blog:

preliminary, uncalibrated Diviner thermal maps of the impact site acquired two hours before the impact, and 90 seconds after the impact. The thermal signature of the impact was clearly detected in all four Diviner thermal mapping channels.

The World At Night – Report from the Scene

The Educational Outreach programs of the National Space Society of Phoenix and the Planetary Society participated in today’s The World At Night exhibition at Christown Mall in Phoenix.

Between 1,000 and 1,500 children and parents stopped by between 10 AM and 3 PM to ask questions, collect trading cards, copies of the Ad Astra magazine, coloring sheets, stickers, decals, bookmarks, photographs and fact sheets from the members. Activities included making soda straw rockets and mission patches. Around a hundred soda straw rockets were built and launched.

The Challenger Space Center in Peoria brought out their Liquid Nitrogen demonstrations, the Dry Ice Comet, Freeze Dried Ice Cream and the Space Helmet Activity.

The Arizona State University School of Earth and Space Exploration put on some captivating exhibits including the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera results from the spacecraft currently orbiting the Moon, and information on Mars, Robotics and Meteorites.

Hard At Work

Hard At Work

LRO Exhibit

Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Exhibit

Non-Profit Chapters Meeting

Non-Profit Chapters Meeting
13 June 2009
Challenger Space Center

The meeting began an effort to collaborate on outreach to the public in support of Space Exploration.

Chapters Represented:

National Space Society (NSS)
The Moon Society
The Mars Society
American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA)
The Planetary Society

Other organizations that should be included:

United Federation of Planets (UFP)
Space Exploration Alliance

Representatives included:

Veronica Ann Zabala – NSS chapter president
Greg Rucker – NSS chapter secretary
Craig Porter – The Moon Society past president
Mark Longenback – AIAA past chair
Patrick Lonchar – NSS treasurer
Don Jock – The Moon Society president
Rich Christianson – AIAA public policy
Dave Fischer – NSS weblog contributor
Scott Hansen – NSS friend
Patty – The Moon Society VP promotions

Other local resource persons:
David Hewitt – NSS – PAC – Phone Tree
Hough Downs – NSS activist
Lori Garver – former NSS Board of Directors
George Whiteside – NSS – Obama Advisor

Upcoming Events:

20 July – ASU – Space Exploration Day
TBD – Sally Ride – ASU
TBD – ASU – Earth & Space Exploration

General Discussion:

Development of Action Items
Possible sponsorship of ISDC 2012
Second Life activities
ASU Spaceflight Photography Lab