01/07/2009 - Mission to a Potentially Threatening Asteroid


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David Morrison, NASA Ames Research Center

Near Earth Asteroids (NEAs) are interesting to both planetary scientists and those who are concerned about protecting against their impacts. The first step, now well underway, is to find them (with the Spacegaurd Survey). Next we need to characterize NEAs using small spacecraft missions. We are especially interested in the sub-km NEAs, since they are the most likely to hit the Earth and also the most accessible targets for human flights beyond the Moon. This talk focuses on a low-cost rendezvous mission to NEA Apophis, with the goal of characterizing both the asteroid and its orbit.

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