SpaceRef

SpaceRef


NASA Workshop: Near-Earth Object Detection, Characterization, and Threat Mitigation - Call For Papers

Status Report From: NASA HQ
Posted: Monday, May 15, 2006

image

NASA is pleased to announce a Call for Papers for a workshop on Near-Earth Object (NEO) Detection, Characterization and Threat Mitigation to be held at a site to be announced.

This workshop is being held in support of NASA's Office of Program Analysis & Evaluation (PA&E) study in response to congressional direction:


  • Chartering NASA to detecting, tracking, cataloguing, and characterizing near-Earth objects in order to provide warning and mitigation of their potential hazard,
  • Authorizing NASA to plan, develop, and implement a Near-Earth Object Survey program,
  • And directing NASA to study possible alternatives to carry out the survey program and to divert an object on a likely collision course with Earth, and to report back to Congress with a recommended survey program.

Participation in the NEO Detection, Characterization and Threat Mitigation Workshop will be by invitation only. Invitees will be chosen through an abstract acceptance process based upon their expertise and contribution to understanding the problems and issues with, and solutions for, the study focus areas of NEO detection, tracking, cataloguing, characterization, and threat mitigation. Interested parties are invited to submit a one-page abstract outlining concept proposals in the study focus areas. Authors are encouraged to submit abstracts addressing the specific topics of inquiry outlined below. Abstracts are due May 26, 2006 by 11:59 p.m. E.D.T. using the NSPIRES online data management system (see abstract submission instructions section).

Authors of accepted abstracts will receive a workshop invitation by June 7, 2006, and will be invited to submit a five to ten page white paper addressing the topic(s) of inquiry and/or detailing the proposed concept, including estimated required schedule and cost information. White papers will be accepted via the NSPIRES online data management system (see abstract submission instructions section) by June 25, 2006. Authors may also be invited to present their papers at the workshop, and will be notified at the time of acceptance.

Workshop attendance is limited to U.S. persons only, as defined in 22 CFR 120.15. Persons representing foreign entities or interests may not attend. Please provide in advance, or bring to the workshop, valid documentation probative of your status as a U.S. Person (e.g., passport, green card, birth certificate)." Foreign persons are welcome to submit abstracts and, if accepted, white papers.

Concept proposals will be evaluated for the purposes of assessing alternatives only; no proposals will be awarded funding as part of the PA&E study process.

Background:

The following text became law as part of the NASA Authorization Act of 2005 passed by the Congress on December 22, 2005, and subsequently signed by the President.

"The U.S. Congress has declared that the general welfare and security of the United States require that the unique competence of NASA be directed to detecting, tracking, cataloguing, and characterizing near-Earth asteroids and comets in order to provide warning and mitigation of the potential hazard of such near-Earth objects to the Earth.

The NASA Administrator shall plan, develop, and implement a Near-Earth Object Survey program to detect, track, catalogue, and characterize the physical characteristics of near- Earth objects equal to or greater than 140 meters in diameter in order to assess the threat of such near-Earth objects to the Earth. It shall be the goal of the Survey program to achieve 90% completion of its near-Earth object catalogue (based on statistically predicted populations of near-Earth objects) within 15 years after the date of enactment of this Act.

The NASA Administrator shall transmit to Congress not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act an initial report that provides the following:

(A) An analysis of possible alternatives that NASA may employ to carry out the Survey program, including ground-based and space-based alternatives with technical descriptions.

(B) A recommended option and proposed budget to carry out the Survey program pursuant to the recommended option.

(C) Analysis of possible alternatives that NASA could employ to divert an object on a likely collision course with Earth."

Workshop:

The NEO Detection, Characterization and Threat Mitigation Workshop is being held to engage experts from the NEO scientific and technical communities to identify the fullest possible set of alternatives for meeting congressional direction. The workshop will be held over four days with at least one day dedicated to each of the three study focus areas of:

  • Detection, Tracking and Cataloging NEOs
  • Characterization of NEOs, and
  • Deflection or other forms of NEO Threat Mitigation

Detecting, Tracking, and Cataloging NEOs

Specific topics of inquiry include, but are not limited to:

  1. What are current US & international capabilities to discover and track NEOs? What size objects can be seen at what distances from the Earth? How much of the sky is covered?
  2. How does warning time vary with object size for an object on a likely collision course?
  3. What currently limits the ability to discover and track objects at 140 m? What technologies are currently in use?
  4. What improved capabilities, expected to become generally available within the next 10 years, could enhance discovery and tracking?
  5. What is the best possible ground-based system for discovering and tracking NEOs? How much coverage is possible using ground-based systems? 6. Is there a need for space-based systems? Do space-based systems provide advantages over ground-based systems? If so, what is the optimal mix of ground and space-based systems?
  6. Can amateur or other astronomers assist with discovery and tracking? How can they be encouraged to do so (e.g., cash awards for new objects)?

Characterization of NEOs

Specific topics of inquiry include, but are not limited to:

  1. What is currently known about the physical characteristics of comets?
  2. What is currently known about the physical characteristics of asteroids?
  3. How much do comets and asteroids vary in characteristics?
  4. How common are smaller bodies orbiting asteroids? What sizes of primary and secondary bodies is expected?
  5. How can physical characteristics of NEOs be resolved in more detail? Will the ability to characterize near-Earth objects be improved by ground or space-based capabilities expected to become available in the next 10 years?
  6. If a threatening object were detected, what assumptions should be made about its composition and structure to assure the highest likelihood of success of a deflection mission (assuming there is no opportunity for a reconnaissance and characterization mission)?

Deflection and Threat Mitigation of NEOs

Specific topics of inquiry include, but are not limited to:

  1. Which deflection options are best suited to which object size, types, and warning times?
  2. Estimate the state of readiness of each option.

Evaluation of Concepts

The authors of those white papers deemed most appropriate will be invited to present their white paper during the workshop. Submitted white papers will be evaluated according to the following criteria subsequent to the workshop as part of the NASA study. Authors are requested to present detailed analysis that supports their concept's satisfaction of these criteria:

  • Ability of proposed concept to detect and track Near Earth Objects down to at least 140 meters in size passing within 50 million kilometers of Earth's orbit; and
  • Ability of proposed concept to detect within 15 years at least 90% of the total projected population of Near Earth Objects equal or greater than 140 meters in size; or
  • Ability of proposed concept to characterize, either remotely or in situ, a NEO for factors related to mitigation, including the size, composition and structure; or
  • Ability of proposed concept to mitigate the impact effects of a Near-Earth Object determined to be on a likely collision course with Earth during a determined time period in the future; and
  • Credibility of presented schedule and cost information.

Delivery of White Papers

An electronic version of the white papers and presentations, along with twenty hard copies of each, shall be delivered to the workshop organizers on the first day of the workshop. The electronic versions can be delivered on a USB storage device or CD. Please include all author's names, institutions, addresses, phone numbers and e-mail addresses. The organizers will not cover travel cost to the workshop.

Abstract Submission Instructions

All abstracts submitted in response to this Call for Papers (CFP) must be submitted in electronic form. For this announcement, an abstract submission will take the form of a Notice of Intent (NOI) within the NSPIRES online announcement data management system. Please note that submission of complete white papers is solicited by invitation only upon review of all abstracts submitted. The author should submit abstracts electronically.

Authors must submit an abstract via NSPIRES, the NASA online announcement data management system, located at http://nspires.nasaprs.com. To submit an abstract, the following steps must be taken:

  1. Every author that intends to submit an abstract to NASA in response to this CFP must be registered in the NSPIRES online announcement data management system. Potential applicants are urged to access this site well in advance of the abstract due date to familiarize themselves with its structure and enter the requested identifier information. For authors without an NSPIRES account, one can be requested at http://nspires.nasaprs.com/external/aboutRegistration.do. For this submission, no affiliations or associations are necessary during account setup.
  2. After receiving an account and logging in, authors should select the "create NOI" from the NSPIRES Proposals link. Select this CFP from the list of open solicitations and then complete the NOI Cover Page and Program Specific Data sections for submission. Please note that business data, and budget information are NOT required for this CFP. If prompted to provide business data, or budget information, the author can ignore these fields. Authors should reply as completely as possible to the Program Specific Data questions, however, no fields are mandatory for submission. A separate NOI should be submitted for each abstract.

Tutorials and other NSPIRES help topics may be accessed through the NSPIRES on-line help site at http://nspires.nasaprs.com/external/help.do. For any questions that cannot be resolved with the available on-line help menus, requests for assistance may be directed by E- mail to nspires-help@nasaprs.com or by telephone to (202) 479-9376, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. 6:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

Additional Information and Contacts

Information and updates on this workshop will be maintained on the workshop website. All changes and announcements concerning this workshop will only be provided on the NSPIRES web page located at the following web address:

http://nspires.nasaprs.com/external/solicitations/summary.do?method=init&solId=%7bA 8954465-1C67-8F2D-362E-B88273BDA6B9%7d&path=init.

If you have study specific questions, please contact the study executive, Leonard Dudzinski, at 202-358-2553, (email leonard.a.dudzinski@nasa.gov). For abstract submission status enquiries please contact Robert Woods at 202-479-9030 x240 (rwoods@nasaprs.com)

// end //

More status reports and news releases or top stories.

Please follow SpaceRef on Twitter and Like us on Facebook.