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First Anniversary Of NASA’s Asteroid Grand Challenge

June 20, 2014
Image Credit: NASA

NASA

It’s been a busy year around the sun for NASA’s Asteroid Grand Challenge. NASA has been active in learning new ways to find, track and characterize asteroids and thinking about ways to respond to asteroid threats to human population. If you want to help, there are lots of opportunities, including a virtual workshop in celebration of the first anniversary of the public announcement of NASA’s Asteroid Grand Challenge on June 19-20.

On June 18, 2013, NASA announced the Asteroid Grand Challenge to find all asteroid threats to human population and know what to do about them. Since then, NASA has inspired asteroid hunters, met citizen scientists from across the globe, and challenged people to ask themselves if we are smarter than the dinosaurs.  NASA is creating new ways every day to get the global public more involved in protecting the planet from asteroid threats.

During the June 18 event last year, the agency released a Request for Information to seek new and innovative ways for people to engage with NASA. Over 400 ideas were submitted for the Asteroid Redirect Mission and the Asteroid Grand Challenge. In September and November of 2013, NASA hosted a public workshop in Houston to discuss 96 of those ideas, including 11 that offered ways to do outreach and engage citizen scientists.

In November 2013, NASA signed the first Space Act Agreement with Planetary Resources Inc. to develop crowd-sourced software solutions to enhance detection of near-Earth objects using NASA-funded data. In March, the Asteroid Grand Challenge team was a smash hit at SXSW, challenging attendees to be smarter than the dinosaurs and launching the Asteroid Data Hunter contest series with Planetary Resources, the NASA Tournament Lab and topcoder.

Asteroid Data Hunter received great attention, which resulted in a record number of registrations and solutions. Asteroid Data Hunter just completed its first marathon match, and is gearing up for the second half of the contest series. Want to be an Asteroid Hunter? There’s still time!

In April, NASA signed a Space Act Agreement with SpaceGAMBIT and Maui Makers. The Maker community is a valuable resource – creative people with a drive to answer questions and find new ways to do things. NASA is counting on Makers to be a part of the solution, and SpaceGAMBIT is working to develop ways to connect Makers with our work to find asteroids and know what to do about possible threats to Earth, including educational programs and by developing tools to help astronomers and citizen scientists.

NASA is also attending Maker Faires to talk directly to Makers. If you’re going to be at the World Maker Faire in New York, come visit the NASA booth to learn more about the Asteroid Grand Challenge and other ways Makers can get involved in NASA programs.

Also in May, the Asteroid Grand Challenge announced a partnership with Slooh, a leader in citizen science for amateur astronomers. This partnership is the first to result directly from ideas submitted through the 2013 RFI process. NASA is working with Slooh to bring you access to their telescope networks to help characterize asteroids, and to show live celestial events to the public.

And NASA is working on other activities and events throughout 2014 to engage the most important element in the grand challenge: you.

But you don’t have to wait until later this year to participate. Tomorrow and Friday is the Asteroid Grand Challenge first anniversary virtual workshop. The program will kick off with an update on the Asteroid Initiative, which you can watch on NASA TV at 1:30 p.m. EDT. Following the update, head over to https://ac.arc.nasa.gov/nagcss/ to participate in the virtual workshop.

On Thursday, June 19, there are two sessions:

3 p.m.  EDT Asteroid Hunting: A Beginners Guide to Potentially Hazardous Asteroids
5 p.m. EDT Using Asteroid Data Creatively

And on Friday, June 20, there are three sessions:

12 p.m. EDT The Science: What make the AGC a Grand Challenge?
1:30 p.m. EDT The Dinosaurs didn’t have a Maker Movement
3:30 p.m.  EDT Next Generation Engagement

Thanks for making the first year around the sun a good one.


Source: NASA



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