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B612 Foundation and Perot Museum of Nature and Science Join Forces to Highlight the Importance of Asteroid Hunting
January 13, 2014
B612 CEO Astronaut Ed Lu and Sentinel Mission Director Harold Reitsema to headline public and donor events in Dallas on January 17
MENLO PARK, CA / DALLAS, TX (January 13, 2014) – In a continuing series of public events to educate the world on the vital importance of asteroid tracking and space exploration, the B612 Foundation is partnering with the Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas for student, public and donor events on Friday, January 17.
“We thank the Perot Museum of Nature and Science for hosting the B612 Foundation in Dallas, as we believe that scientific innovation and private initiative can work powerfully together,” said Dr. Ed Lu, CEO and Co-founder of the B612 Foundation, and three-time NASA Astronaut and former resident of the International Space Station. “We look forward to sharing with the North Texas community the importance of asteroids and why we are working to build the first private deep space telescope to find dangerous asteroids that could strike Earth. Our planet’s ‘neighborhood’ has yet to be fully explored, and this telescope will enable us to create the first dynamic map of our inner solar system.”
Dr. Lu adds that there are “millions of asteroids orbiting the Sun whose trajectories could lead them to collide with our planet, and to date we have found only about 1 percent or about 10,000. The goal of the B612 Sentinel Mission is to find the other 99 percent of asteroids before they find us – enabling us to prevent future asteroid impacts,” said Dr. Lu.
In February 2013, a 50-foot asteroid impacted near Chelyabinsk, Russia, injuring 2,000 people and causing millions of dollars of destruction. On January 2, the first major asteroid impact of 2014 hit Earth with explosive energy of 500 tons of TNT over the Atlantic Ocean.
“We are flying around our Solar System blind to most potential asteroid impacts, while the technology and knowledge exists today to easily deflect asteroids from Earth’s orbit – if someone were to just spot them first. This is the purpose our Sentinel Mission,” continued Dr. Lu.
“The Perot Museum is thrilled to partner with the B612 Foundation to give North Texans a chance to hear about Dr. Lu and Dr. Reitsema’s pioneering efforts regarding asteroids and their development of a deep space telescope,” said Steve Hinkley, vice president of programs for the Perot Museum. “And we’re excited that middle and high school students from across America will have an opportunity to learn about these fascinating advancements through our ScienceCast distance learning program.”
January 17 Events at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science, Dallas, TX
Dr. Ed Lu, CEO and Co-founder of the B612 Foundation and Dr. Harold Reitsema, Sentinel Mission Director, will be guest speakers at three events on January 17 at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science (2201 N. Field St., Dallas, TX). Information about these events and how to purchase tickets to the evening lecture/Social Science event can be found at perotmuseum.org.
- ScienceCast, (9:00-10:00 a.m.CST), a distance-learning video conference broadcast to middle and high school students. Join Dr. Ed Lu and Dr. Harold Reitsema for a special ScienceCast Career Café about Hunting Asteroids. This live videoconference will take place inside the Museum’s Expanding Universe Hall. Learn all about the Sentinel Mission of the B612 Foundation and what it takes to explore this new frontier. Schools from across the country with standards-based H.323 technology can participate in this free program by signing up through Connect2Texas, the Perot Museum’s partner in distance learning. To register: please contact the Museum at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Social Science public event for ages 21 and older: (7– 11 p.m. CST with Dr. Lu and Dr. Reitsema’s lecture from 7:30 – 9 p.m. in The Hoglund Foundation Theater.) In addition to Dr. Lu and Reitsema’s lecture, Social Science will provide a rare opportunity for guests ages 21 and older to experience everyday exhibits and exclusive programs in an adults-only atmosphere complete with signature cocktails. Guests also will get to chance to try newly developed video games, learn a step or two from a hip-hop dance troupe, create a own zoetrope animated film, or speak out during a live dubbing session. Visitors may also bundle their ticket to include access to ANIMAL INSIDE OUT, a BODY WORLDS Production, and join a guest artist for a night of specimen sketching inside this exclusive traveling exhibit. TICKETS: Because Social Science usually sells out, visitors are strongly encouraged to register online in advance at perotmuseum.org. For Social Science only, tickets are $15 for non-members and $10 for Museum members. For Social Science and ANIMAL INSIDE OUT, tickets are $25 for non-members and $20 for Museum members.
- Private Reception for friends and donors of the Perot Museum: Immediately following the lecture, Perot Museum donors and friends will host an invitation-only Founders Circle meet-and-greet with Dr. Lu and Dr. Reitsema.
Ed Lu is a former NASA astronaut who flew three space missions, including 6 months on the International Space Station. From 2007-2010, he led the Advanced Projects group at Google, where his teams developed imaging technology for Google Earth/Maps, Google Street View, and energy information products including Google PowerMeter. He is the co-inventor of the Gravity Tractor, a spacecraft able to controllably alter the orbit of an asteroid. He has published scientific articles on high-energy astrophysics, solar physics, plasma physics, cosmology, and statistical physics. Dr.Lu holds a PhD in astrophysics from Stanford University, and a Bachelors degree in Electrical Engineering from Cornell University.
Dr. Harold J. Reitsema, Mission Director
Harold Reitsema is a planetary astronomer who specializes in designing space science missions that probe the solar system and beyond. While at the University of Arizona, he discovered satellites of Saturn and Neptune. As Director for Science Mission Development, Civil and Operational Space for Ball Aerospace, he led design teams for the Hubble Space Telescope instruments and numerous other space missions. He served as a Senior Research Associate at the University of Arizona, where he developed optical instruments and data systems that utilized emerging electronic imaging technologies for telescopic observations of solar system objects. His observations provided scientific guidance to several NASA space flight missions. Dr. Reitsema has published more than 50 papers in the areas of astronomy, planetary science and space missions including studies of asteroids and planetary satellites.
About the B612 Foundation
The B612 Foundation aims to build, launch, and operate the world’s first privately funded deep space telescope that will create the first comprehensive dynamic map of our inner solar system, identifying the current and future locations and trajectories of Earth crossing asteroids. Ball Aerospace will design and build the Sentinel Space Telescope, with the same expert team that built the Spitzer and Kepler Space Telescopes. Sentinel is scheduled to launch in 2018 on a SpaceX Falcon9 Rocket. Through a Space Act Agreement with NASA, data will be collected and sent back to Earth via NASA’s Deep Space Network, which also will be used for tracking and navigation. The B612 Foundation is named for the asteroid home of the “Little Prince” in the Antoine Saint-Exupery classic novel. The Little Prince came to realize that what is essential in life, is often invisible to the human eye. Ed and Harold will tell us not only how we can protect Earth from asteroids, but how the B612 Foundation is turning this vision into reality today.
About the Perot Museum of Nature and Science
Accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, the Perot Museum of Nature and Science is a nonprofit educational organization located in Dallas, Texas, with campuses in Victory Park and Fair Park. In support of its mission to inspire minds through nature and science, the Perot Museum delivers exciting, engaging and innovative visitor and outreach experiences through its education, exhibition, and research and collections programming for children, students, teachers, families and life-long learners. The $185 million Victory Park museum, designed by 2005 Pritzker Architecture Prize Laureate Thom Mayne and his firm Morphosis Architects, opened to the public December 1, 2012. The Perot Museum is named in honor of Margot and Ross Perot, the result of a $50 million gift made by their five adult children. To learn more about the Perot Museum, please visit perotmuseum.org.