|Title:||The Asteroid Grand Challenge|
|Date:||Thursday, 7 November 2013|
|Time:||15:00 - 16:00|
A key new element of the NASA mission was established earlier this year in the form of a Grand Challenge: “Find all asteroid threats to human populations and know what to do about them.” The NASA “Asteroid Grand Challenge,” an element of President Obama’s Strategy for American Innovation http://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/ostp/grand-challenges is a large-scale effort focused on detecting and characterizing asteroids and learning how to deal with potential threats. The Asteroid Grand Challenge (AGC), led by NASA’s Office of the Chief Technologist, will require multi-disciplinary collaborations and a variety of partnerships with other government agencies, international partners, industry, academia, and citizen scientists. The AGC complements NASA’s recently announced Asteroid Initiative, which includes a mission to rendezvous with and redirect an asteroid to a lunar orbit, followed by a mission to send humans to explore the asteroid.
NASA is interested in engaging other nations to help with this important work, with a particular interest in filling a gap within the Southern Hemisphere for night sky survey coverage. We feel that the sophisticated astronomy and science communities within South Africa, coupled with your geographic location, make South Africa an ideal early partner in this initiative, particularly with regard to asteroid detection and characterization. We feel that the JCM presents a great opportunity to advance cooperation with South Africa in this area.