February 25, 2014
NASA To Hold Asteroid Initiative Opportunities Forum
Sarah Ramsey / Rachel Kraft, NASA Headquarters
As the next step in advancing NASA’s asteroid initiative, the agency will host an Opportunities Forum March 26 at NASA Headquarters in Washington.The forum, which is open to industry, academia and interested individuals, will provide status updates from ongoing asteroid redirect mission studies and summarize how responses to a 2013 Request for Information (RFI) are helping improve mission planning activities. The event will also highlight opportunities for public engagement in the mission and activities associated with the Asteroid Grand Challenge.
NASA’s Asteroid Initiative includes two separate, but related activities: the Asteroid Redirect Mission and the Asteroid Grand Challenge. NASA is currently developing concepts for the mission, which will employ a robotic spacecraft to capture a small near-Earth asteroid, or remove a boulder from the surface of a larger asteroid, and redirect it into a stable orbit around the moon. Astronauts will travel aboard NASA's Orion spacecraft, launched on the Space Launch System rocket, to rendezvous in lunar orbit with the captured asteroid material. Once there, they will collect samples to return to Earth for study.
The grand challenge is seeking the best ideas to find all asteroid threats to human populations, and to accelerate the work that NASA is already doing for planetary defense.
Prior to the March forum, NASA will issue an Announcement of Opportunities for the Asteroid Initiative. This broad agency announcement will solicit ideas for alternate capture system concepts, rendezvous sensor systems, secondary payloads, feasibility studies on adapting commercial spacecraft buses for the mission and commercial and international partnership opportunities for the mission.
Seating is limited for this event. Individuals who plan to attend must register online. The forum will be carried on NASA Television and streamed online for virtual participants. To register, or for more information on how to view the event, go to: http://socialforms.nasa.gov/asteroidforum
Media who wish to attend the forum should contact Sarah Ramsey at [email protected] or 202-358-1694.
More than 400 responses were submitted in response to the 2013 asteroid initiative RFI, 96 of which were explored in depth at a two-part workshop in Houston in late 2013. NASA recently released a full report on the workshop activities and recommendations, which can be viewed at: http://go.nasa.gov/Lgn9eq
For more information about upcoming events and NASA's asteroid initiative, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/asteroidinitiative
Image 2 (below): Artist concept of Orion Spacecraft. Credit: NASA