Asteroid dreams, Part 5: what NASA wants to know



In my last post I offered my five cents worth on NASA’s June 18 Asteroid Initiative (it’s now capitalized) “industry and partners day.” In this post I’ll offer some details from NASA’s Asteroid Initiative request for information (RFI), released on June 18.

With this RFI, NASA is polling the world for good ideas – “system concepts and innovative approaches” – that could contribute to developing and executing NASA’s proposed Asteroid Redirect Mission and/or meeting the “Grand Challenge” of finding “all asteroid threats to human populations” and figuring out “what to do about them.”

NASA is asking for ideas and information that could help it to improve its ongoing near-Earth object observation program, develop a viable asteroid redirection system, execute an asteroid deflection demonstration “using the robotic Asteroid  Redirection Vehicle” (no, I don’t know what that is), build an asteroid capture system (using, for example, “deployable and inflatable structures, capture bags, robotic mechanisms, modeling and simulation, telerobotic operations, and other innovative approaches”), flesh out crew systems for asteroid operations, and initiate “partnerships and participatory engagement.”

Upcoming NASA events relating to the Asteroid Initiative include a June 27 online forum (2 PM Eastern Time) “to answer questions about the Asteroid Initiative and the Asteroid Redirect Mission,” and a September public workshop “to obtain input from the broad community on system concepts for the Asteroid Redirect Mission and innovative approaches for planetary defense. NASA will use the responses to the RFI for inviting presenters to this workshop and other opportunities for discussion.”

Stay tuned….


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