NASA Needs Ideas to Study Potentially Hazardous Asteroid Apophis
February 7, 2024 at 7:00 am by Gizmodo.com.au
Asteroid 99942 Apophis is fast approaching our home planet for an uncomfortably close encounter in 2029. In order to prepare for the rare event, NASA is calling for ideas for low cost missions to rendezvous with Apophis, but the space agency already has a pair of asteroid probes ready to take on the task.
NASA is hosting a workshop on Wednesday, February 7 “on innovative approaches to conduct missions during the Earth flyby of the asteroid Apophis in 2029.” The workshop is seeking ideas from the private space sector, other international space agencies and government agencies, and will feature a public briefing followed by one-on-one sessions.
Meanwhile, twin probes that were originally meant to study two separate binary asteroid systems are currently in storage at Lockheed Martin, the company that designed and built them. The pair of spacecraft were supposed to launch in August 2022, hitching a ride to space with the Psyche mission to explore a metal-rich asteroid. An unfortunate software glitch delayed Psyche’s launch two months before its liftoff, thereby affecting its ride-along missions.
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