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The Story of Asteroid Day Haiti

Peter Rulx Theo

 

Why am I personally supporting Asteroid Day?

I am personally supporting Asteroid Day because I want my people (Haitians) to know the truth about asteroids and what to expect from them. We used to have some natural disasters like hurricanes or earthquakes but an asteroid impact would be incredibly different and global! Many questions have already come from the community about rocks coming from the sky and the only answer they had for most of the time is from religious interpretations. Despite being an OBGYN, I have also been an astronomy lover since my childhood and have been trained from many books and MOOCs. I have also been involved in Dr. Lisa Harvey-Smith’s Professional Astronomy Research Experience: Magnetic Fields in Space (https://www.lisaharveysmith.com/) and an Astronomy Expert university program in Bircham International University (http://www.bircham.edu/ ).

What am I doing for Asteroid Day?

I plan to have a national conference at the HQ of our association “Société Haïtienne d’Astronomie” (Haitian Astronomical Society). We have purchased some materials from a budget supported by online fundraising. At the moment we are now actively sending out invitations to our event. Our focus is the national media. Meanwhile, we have some regional broadcasts in astronomy where we talk also about asteroids and the Asteroid Day.

What challenges am I facing/have I faced in your preparation of events for Asteroid Day?
The biggest challenge is to have people respond effectively to the invitation. In fact, they are so saturated by local social, economical & political troubles. But we plan to send and to re-send the invitations; our public banners are almost done.

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Asteroid Day Update – September Edition – OSIRIS-REx

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In this month’s Asteroid Update video series, our host Scott Manley talks to Dr. Dante Lauretta, Asteroid Day Expert and Principal Investigator (PI) for NASA’s OSIRIS-REx asteroid mission. OSIRIS-REx launched this on September 8, 2016 from the Kennedy Space Center on a multi-year mission to study the asteroid Bennu.

Bennu is a particularly interesting asteroid, whose regolith may record the earliest history of our solar system –and essentially the origins of life. OSIRIS-REx’s mission will be to map the asteroid and return a sample. Bennu is also a hazardous asteroid so not only will the mission give researchers and scientists valuable knowledge of this asteroid’s physical and chemical composition, but also insight to its orbits and eventually how we can prepare to deflect dangerous asteroids.

Dante explains that throughout 2017, OSIRIS-REx will be in the ‘survey phase’, using hyperbolic flybys before the spacecraft will be ready to go in orbit around the asteroid in 2018. At that time, OSIRIS-REx will determine the best site for the five minute impact, designed to characterize the asteroid.  

Dr. Lauretta characterizes OSIRIS-REx as a “vacuum cleaner in reverse” – and his story of how this spacecraft works and also how he came to name the mission – is all in the interview.

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Asteroid Named for Freddie Mercury

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Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?

On the occasion of his 70th birthday, Freddie Mercury received a cosmic boost when on September 5th, ‘Asteroid 17473 Freddiemercury’ was officially named for him. The asteroid’s original name was 1991FM3 as Freddie Mercury died in 1991, the same year this asteroid was discovered. B612 Mission Scientist Marc Buie presented the Certificate at Freddie Mercury’s birthday party in Switzerland on September 5, 2016.

So how do you get an asteroid named after you?

Names are approved by the International Astronomical Union, and archived at the Minor Planet Center. In this case, Dr. Joel Parker, asteroid expert and director of the Southwest Research Institute (Boulder, CO) (who also served as the principal investigator for the Rosetta Mission), and Dr. Brian May, our co-founder of Asteroid Day, submitted Freddie Mercury’s name in honor his 70th Birthday. Like May, Parker is both an astrophysicist and longtime musician. Asteroids are currently named for many pop legends, including The Beatles, Brian May, and David Bowie.

If you want to view ‘Asteroid 17473 FreddieMercury’, you’ll just need a basic telescope. To get the quintessential  experience, you will need to be listening at the same time to Freddie singing: I’m a shooting star leaping through the sky…

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Asteroid Day Update – Feat Scott Manley and Jill Tarter from SETI Institute – August 2016

You may have already seen it but in case you haven’t, we are proud to collaborate with Astronogamer Scott Manley on this new monthly video series – Asteroid Day Update – where he talks about asteroids and astronomy with supporters of the 100x Asteroid Day declaration. This month he sat down with the legendary astronomer Jill Tarter, one of the great pioneers of SETI. You might remember the Jodie Foster movie Contact, well Jodie Foster’s character was based on Jill.

The character of Dr. Arroway was modeled after two of the pioneering radio astronomers of the 1930s and 1940s, Grote Reber and John Kraus; both men were ham radio operators at an early age. Another model for the character’s work was real-life SETI researcher Jill Cornell Tarter.

Brian_May_aim-shirtThe plan with Asteroid Day Update is to bring you one fresh episode each month. Our partner, the European Space Agency is giving away a special edition #AIMMission t-shirt each month signed by our co-founder and Queen guitarist Dr. Brian May. Just ask an asteroid related question using #AIMMission on Twitter and the best question will be answered by an asteroid expert in next month’s episode. As we are doing this series for you it would be great if you could give us some feedback in the comments below or via social media.

Special Thanks to Scott Manley who did a great job with the first episode and to Jill Tarter for taking the time for the interview and thank you for watching and for being an important part of this wonderful global movement!

Best,
Grig

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Time Lapse: Watch One Earth Year From Space

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For the first time, a camera has recorded the entire, fully lit Earth for a year—every day, multiple times a day. At high speed, the world seems to spin in place as each continent experiences its share of daylight. Storms, snow, and even an eclipse pass by. The camera is part of the Deep Space Climate Observatory, a project of NASA, NOAA, and the U.S. Air Force.

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Screen the film 51 Degrees North at your event and watch for free on June 30!

Our story began in February 2014 when Dr. Brian May, astrophysicist and famed guitarist for the rock band QUEEN, began working with Grigorij Richters, the director of a new film titled 51 Degrees North, a fictional story of an asteroid impact on London and the resulting human condition. May composed the music for the film and suggested that Richters preview it at Starmus, an event organized by Dr. Garik Israelian and attended by esteemed astrophysicists, scientists and artists, including Dr. Stephen Hawking, Richard Dawkins and Rick Wakeman. The result was the beginning of discussions that would lead to the launch of Asteroid Day in 2015. It is now 2016 and event organizers have the opportunity to view and screen 51 Degrees North at their local Asteroid Day event for free.

The film introduces Damon Miller, a filmmaker grappling with the pressures of an impoverished profession and a dissolving relationship. One routine assignment will change his life as he is involved in the disturbing research into Near-Earth Objects.

The film brings asteroid awareness into the realm of entertainment, suitable for all global Asteroid Day events. The film is available in English, Czech, French, Hungarian, Russian, Spanish, Turkish and Polish. This also includes subtitles in: Arabic, Bulgarian, Danish, Dutch, Finnish Greek, Hebrew, Norwegian, Romanian, Serbian, Swedish. To gain access to the film to screen at your event, send in your film request to events@asteroidday.org. Additionally, the film will be available on Asteroid Day for 24 hours on our website for anyone to enjoy, free of charge!

More details about the film, here.

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Asteroid Impact Mission: Asteroid touchdown

This video was uploaded by the European Space Agency, an official Asteroid Day partner.

 

The European Space Agency released a new video about their proposed asteroid mission, Asteroid Impact Mission (aka AIM). Head of the mission and Asteroid Day supporter, Ian Carnelli told us: “As studies progress we’re learning more and more about delivering this micro-rover on Didymoon’s surface. We’ll need to fly as close at 200m from its surface, it’s never been done before!! The Rosetta team as well as our guidance and navigation experts at ESA and industry are crunching numbers. They’re doing an amazing job, lots of work still remains as we look at many different approaches and run so-called Monte Carlo analyses to estimate the impact of all the possible little perturbations. The video is intended to provide an idea of what would happen nominally, with realistic bouncing due to the very small gravity environment.”

The video description:

“As part of ESA’s proposed Asteroid Impact Mission would come the Agency’s next landing on a small body since Rosetta’s Philae lander reached 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko in 2014.

In 2022 the Mascot-2 microlander would be deployed from the main AIM spacecraft to touch down on the approximately 170-m diameter ‘Didymoon’, in orbit around the larger 700-m diameter Didymos asteroid.

The 15 kg Mobile Asteroid Surface Scout-2 (Mascot-2) is building on the heritage of DLR’s Mascot-1 already flying on Japan’s Hayabusa-2. Launched in 2014, the latter will land on asteroid Ryugu in 2018.

Mascot-2 would be deployed from AIM at about 5 cm/s, and remain in contact with its mothership as it falls through a new inter-satellite communications system. Didymoon’s gravity levels will only be a few thousandths of Earth’s, so the landing would be relatively gentle, although multiple bounces may take place before it comes to rest.

Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) would help AIM to pinpoint its microlander’s resting place from orbit. In case of a landing in a non-illuminated area, a spring-like ‘mobility mechanism’ would let the microlander jump to another location. Onboard GNC ‘guidance navigation and control’ sensors would gather details of the landing both for scientific reasons and to determine the microlander’s orientation for deployment of the solar array to keep it supplied with sufficient power for several weeks of surface operations.

As well as a solar array, AIM would also deploy its low frequency radar LFR instrument, while cameras perform visible and thermal surface imaging. LFR would send radar signals right through the body, to be detected by AIM on Didymoon’s far side, to provide detailed subsurface soundings of an asteroid’s internal structure for the first time ever.

Then Mascot-2 would repeat these measurements after Didymoon has been impacted by the NASA’s DART (Double Asteroid Redirection Test) probe, to assess the extent of structural changes induced by this impact event. AIM and DART together are known as the Asteroid Impact & Deflection Assessment mission.”

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Carolyn Shoemaker: Advice to young women and men who might be interested in astronomy

Hillary Aiken and I had the rare opportunity to sit down with Asteroid Day supporter Carolyn Shoemaker, the legendary astronomer who co-discovered Comet Shoemaker–Levy 9 (with David Levy). She once held the record for most comets discovered by an individual. Over the next few weeks we will post the full interview but here is an excerpt in which she gives some advice to young women (and also men) who might be interested in astronomy. It’s not just about “looking at the sky and find things”, Carolyn says. You have to “take as much math as possible and that’s what turns a lot of young people off… they need to take physics, they need to take chemistry and above all they need to know how to use computers”, she says.

Watch the full video (above) or download it directly from Vimeo here.

A still from the shoot:

Asteroid Day supporter, astronomer and co-discoverer of comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 Carolyn Shoemaker gives a rare interview.
Asteroid Day supporter, astronomer and co-discoverer of comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 Carolyn Shoemaker gives a rare interview.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Special Thanks to:

Carolyn Shoemaker and her son Phred.

Interviewer Hillary Aiken

Location: The Peaks, Senior Living Community

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This is how big an asteroid would need to be to wipe out New York City

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This video and the article were produced by Alex Kuzoian for Business Insider UK. Neither Alex nor Business Insider UK are affiliated with Asteroid Day.

An asteroid doesn’t need to be massive to cause serious damage. The Chicxulub asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs is estimated to have been about 6 miles in diameter. That may sound like a pretty big space rock, but relative to Earth it’s pretty tiny.

But what’s the likelihood of an asteroid of that size coming into contact with Earth again? The following is from NASA’s website:

Every day, Earth is bombarded with more than 100 tons of dust and sand-sized particles.

About once a year, an automobile-sized asteroid hits Earth’s atmosphere, creates an impressive fireball, and burns up before reaching the surface.

Every 2,000 years or so, a meteoroid the size of a football field hits Earth and causes significant damage to the area.

Only once every few million years, an object large enough to threaten Earth’s civilization comes along. Impact craters on Earth, the moon and other planetary bodies are evidence of these occurrences.

Produced by Alex Kuzoian.

Follow BI Video: On Twitter

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Find Them Now – The Asteroid Grand Challenge

The NASA Asteroid Grand Challenge (AGC) ran a public challenge to develop this short video. Learn how this was created.

“Find Them Now” uses a narrative based on a fictional asteroid named “Arthur” to explain how the asteroid’s spin, size, composition and mass would be determined using radar, astrometry, ground and space-based infrared spectroscopy, and light curve analysis.

We believe working together we can protect our planet from potentially harmful asteroids. This video, and other efforts like it, are part of a large scale endeavor to use multi-disciplinary collaborations to solve the Asteroid Grand Challenge.

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