Author Topic: Asteroid experts plan privately funded Sentinel Space Telescope  (Read 29261 times)

Offline Danderman

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http://cosmiclog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/06/19/12303639-asteroid-experts-plan-privately-funded-sentinel-space-telescope?lite

The nonprofit B612 Foundation says it's planning the first privately funded deep-space mission, with the goal of launching an instrument known as the Sentinel Space Telescope to look for potentially hazardous asteroids from a vantage point inside Earth's orbit around the sun.

The foundation, headed by former NASA astronaut Ed Lu, tipped its hand today in an advisory alerting journalists about a press conference to be conducted at 8:30 a.m. PT June 28 at the California Academy of Science' Morrison Planetarium in San Francisco.

"We will create the first comprehensive dynamic map of our inner solar system showing the current and future locations and trajectories of Earth-crossing asteroids, paving the way to protect the Earth from future impacts and opening up the solar system to future exploration," the advisory read.

Scheduled speakers include Lu as well as the foundation's chairman emeritus, Apollo 9 astronaut Rusty Schweickart; project architect Scott Hubbard, a Stanford professor who once served as NASA's Mars czar; and mission director Harold Reitsema, former director of space science missions at Ball Aerospace.

http://b612foundation.org/b612/

« Last Edit: 06/20/2012 01:59 PM by Danderman »

Online Chris Bergin

B612 FOUNDATION ANNOUNCES FIRST PRIVATELY FUNDED DEEP SPACE MISSION
 
NEW INFRARED SPACE TELESCOPE IN SOLAR ORBIT, UP TO 170 MILLION MILES FROM EARTH, WILL PROTECT HUMANITY, MAP THE INNER SOLAR SYSTEM, AND ENABLE EXPLORATION
 
SAN FRANCISCO, CA (June 28, 2012)– In a press conference at the California Academy of Sciences Thursday morning, the B612 Foundation unveiled its plans to build, launch, and operate the first privately funded deep space mission – SENTINEL - a space telescope to be placed in orbit around the Sun, ranging up to 170 million miles from Earth, for a mission of discovery and mapping. The Foundation leadership and technical team include some of the most experienced professionals in the world to lead this effort.
 
“The orbits of the inner solar system where Earth lies are populated with a half million asteroids larger than the one that struck Tunguska (June 30, 1908), and yet we’ve identified and mapped only about one percent of these asteroids to date, said Ed Lu, Space Shuttle, Soyuz, and Space Station Astronaut, now Chairman and CEO of the B612 Foundation.“During its 5.5-year mission survey time, Sentinel will discover and track half a million Near Earth Asteroids, creating a dynamic map thatwill provide the blueprint for future exploration of our Solar System, while protecting the future of humanity on Earth.”
 
Asteroids are a scientific and economic opportunity in that they contain the original building blocks of the Solar System. They are targets for future human exploration, and may contain valuable raw materials for mining.  These asteroids are also a threat in that they can pose great risk to humanity here on Earth. Taking advantage of these opportunities and dealing with these threats require not only knowing where each of these individual asteroids is now, but also projecting where they will be in the future.
 
“For the first time in history, B612’s Sentinel Mission will create a comprehensive and dynamic map of the inner solar system in which we live - providing vital information about who we are, who are our neighbors, and where we are going,” said Rusty Schweickart, Chairman Emeritus of B612, and Apollo 9 Astronaut. “We will know which asteroids will pass close to Earth and when, and which, if any of these asteroids actually threaten to collide with Earth. The nice thing about asteroids is that once you've found them and once you have a good solid orbit on them you can predict a hundred years ahead of time whether there is a likelihood of an impact with the Earth.”
 
Advances in space technology, including advances in infrared sensing and on-board computing, as well as low-cost launch system, have opened up a new era in exploration where private organizations can now carry out grand and audacious space missions previously only possible by governments.
 
“The B612 Sentinel mission extends the emerging commercial spaceflight industry into deep space - a first that will pave the way for many other ventures,” said the former Director of NASA Ames Research Center Dr. Scott Hubbard, B612 Foundation Program Architect and Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics at Stanford University. “Mapping the presence of thousands of near earth objects will create a new scientific database and greatly enhance our stewardship of the planet.”
 
Sentinel Space Telescope
The B612 Foundation is working with Ball Aerospace, Boulder, CO, which has designed and will be building the Sentinel Infrared (IR) Space Telescope with the same expert team that developed the Spitzer and Kepler Space Telescopes.  It will take approximately five years to complete development and testing to be ready for launch in 2017-2018. The launch vehicle of choice is the SpaceX Falcon9.
 
Harold Reitsema, Sentinel Mission Director andformer Ball Aerospace Director of Science Mission Development will lead the technical team.“The Sentinel Space Telescope is a space-based Infrared (IR) telescope with a 20-inch diameter mirror that will depart Earth, headed inwards into the Solar System 40 million miles.  It will perform what is known as a gravitational slingshot maneuver off the planet Venus to enter its final orbit around the sun. This will provide the optimal vantage point to map the locations and trajectories of Earth-crossing asteroids.”
 
Sentinel will scan the entire night half of the sky every 26 days to identify every moving object with repeated observations in subsequent months. Data collected by Sentinel will be sent back to the Earth via NASA’s Deep Space Network, which also will be used for tracking and navigation. Data collected by Sentinel will be transmitted first to the Laboratory for Space Physics, Boulder, Colo., and then distributed to education, research, scientific institutions and governments via NASA’s Minor Planet Center, Cambridge, Mass. As part of the B612 Foundation-NASA Space Act Agreement of June 2012, NASA JPL (NEO Center), Pasadena, Calif. will conduct a comprehensive hazard analysis, making orbit determinations and threat assessments.
 
Education and Public Involvement
The B612 Foundation is working with the California Academy of Sciences and the Planetary Society in the development of education and research programs during the next decade and is looking to expand this research and education network worldwide and encourages all interested parties, including students to contact B612 directly via its website: www.b612foundation.org
 
“We believe our goal of opening up the solar system and protecting humanity is one that will resonate worldwide, said Lu.  “We’ve garnered the support and advice of a number of individuals experienced with successful philanthropic capital campaigns of similar size or larger, and will continue to build our network.”
 
“We've been given a gift, and the gift is that we have the ability now to go out there and actually do something which positively affects the future of humanity on Earth.”
 
About B612
The B612 Foundation aims to build, launch, and operate the world’s first privately funded deep space telescope mission to create the first comprehensive dynamic map of our inner solar system, identifying the current and future locations and trajectories of Earth crossing asteroids. The B612 Foundation believes that humanity can harness the power of science and technology to protect the future of civilization on this planet, while extending our reach into the solar system. Individuals, schools and other academic and research institutions with interest in joining B612 Foundation efforts and events are encouraged to sign up at the Foundation website: (www.b612foundation.org).

Offline BrightLight

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From the spec. sheet on there web site,

http://b612foundation.org/media/sentinelmission/

this looks like it could be a real nice optic, my first cut analysis says on order 25 micron pixel pitch, f1 to f2, probably Cassigrain, no big technology hurtles.

Offline agman25

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A cryogenically cooled 5.5 year mission. Has that been done before?

Offline FinalFrontier

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A cryogenically cooled 5.5 year mission. Has that been done before?


No but it is possible.


This is not going to be a small vehicle. They have it listed on an F9 but something tells me this may end up on an FH.



Per the OP, have to say its sort of like an "its about time" moment when it comes to this for me. We should have been getting a better idea of the asteroid and unknown object situation years ago, this should make a big difference.


Here's to hoping they don't find anything heading this way.
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Offline BrightLight

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A cryogenically cooled 5.5 year mission. Has that been done before?


No but it is possible.


This is not going to be a small vehicle. They have it listed on an F9 but something tells me this may end up on an FH.



Per the OP, have to say its sort of like an "its about time" moment when it comes to this for me. We should have been getting a better idea of the asteroid and unknown object situation years ago, this should make a big difference.


Here's to hoping they don't find anything heading this way.
The focal plane will be cooled by a closed loop "cold" finger:
"Designed for 5.5 years of surveying operations.Actively cooled to 40K using a Ball Aerospace two-stage, closed-cycle, Stirling-cycle cryocooler"
these work well, and will function better in a vacuum if the solar shield is adequate.

Offline notsorandom

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A cryogenically cooled 5.5 year mission. Has that been done before?
This is not going to be a small vehicle. They have it listed on an F9 but something tells me this may end up on an FH.
The spec sheet provided by B612 give the Sentinel's mass at 1,500kg. Recently released NLS II info states that the Falcon 9 1.1 will have C3 performance of about  C3=23 (km/s)^2. I'm not sure what the proposed orbit will take but it sounds doable with out a Falcon Heavy.

Offline as58

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Spitzer's cryogenic mission was about 5.5 years.

I don't know much about the B612 foundation. Is their plan realistic? No matter how they're doing it, the mission is not going to be cheap. Do they have the funding ready? For a launch in 2016, they need to start building the spacecraft soon.

Offline LegendCJS

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Active cooling like that mentioned does not use up consumable cryogens, so in principle does not face the lifetime limit like the Spitzer Space Telescope (which did consume cyrogens.)

« Last Edit: 06/28/2012 08:07 PM by LegendCJS »
Remember: if we want this whole space thing to work out we have to optimize for cost!

Offline ugordan

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This post suggests that the C3 requirements for a Venus injection are between 6-12 km2/s2 for good opportunities. Even if the 2017/2018 Venus opportunities require, say, 17 km2/s2, that would still leave 500 kg margin from the current Falcon 9 prediction. 250 kg for a C3 of 20 km2/s2. Sounds doable.

Offline kch

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Offline BrightLight

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Just to put things into perspective, the Spitzer focal plane is cooled to 5.5K and is a broad spectrum IR imager out to 180 microns. The B612 focal plane will be chilled to 40K, an order magnitude less sensitive and work roughly between 5 and 10 microns.  The B612 technology is not a big step, in fact it is well within the current technology, for instance a random search
picked up this web site
http://www.teledyne-si.com/infrared_visible_fpas/index.html
that shows a MWIR arrays at 16 megapixels in 2008, it is no stretch to assume a 50% improvement in the past 4 years. As for cost the array and ASIC is probably on order $10 million, my guess is the whole satellite is on order $100 million. Maybe Launch and operations total on order $250 million.

Offline as58

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I don't know much about the B612 foundation.

Hope this helps:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B612_Foundation

http://b612foundation.org/

:)

Thanks, I knew about their website but I hoped someone would've read through it so I wouldn't need to do that myself...

A quick look at their FAQs shows that they're hoping to start a massive philantrophic campaign. I must admit that I'm quite sceptical of their chances of getting the needed funding (they estimate a cost of a few hundred million, which sounds realistic), at least on their very ambitious schedule.

Offline MP99

See thread NASA Hosts Workshop To Discuss Exploring Near Earth Objects, especially from the point I've highlighted, and especially Blackstar's comments.

AFAICT, one of the big issues with mounting manned missions to NEAs is that the number of known targets is very small, and Earth-based surveys can only find targets that are many years (sometimes decades) away.

cheers, Martin

Online Blackstar

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The B612 technology is not a big step, in fact it is well within the current technology, for instance a random search
picked up this web site
http://www.teledyne-si.com/infrared_visible_fpas/index.html
that shows a MWIR arrays at 16 megapixels in 2008, it is no stretch to assume a 50% improvement in the past 4 years. As for cost the array and ASIC is probably on order $10 million, my guess is the whole satellite is on order $100 million. Maybe Launch and operations total on order $250 million.

Not even close. This is easily $500 million+

And the processing is not simple.

Online Blackstar

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AFAICT, one of the big issues with mounting manned missions to NEAs is that the number of known targets is very small

You can count the number of possible targets on one hand after cutting off three fingers.

A space-based survey is required if anybody is going to do that mission.

Offline BrightLight

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The B612 technology is not a big step, in fact it is well within the current technology, for instance a random search
picked up this web site
http://www.teledyne-si.com/infrared_visible_fpas/index.html
that shows a MWIR arrays at 16 megapixels in 2008, it is no stretch to assume a 50% improvement in the past 4 years. As for cost the array and ASIC is probably on order $10 million, my guess is the whole satellite is on order $100 million. Maybe Launch and operations total on order $250 million.

Not even close. This is easily $500 million+

And the processing is not simple.
I should have said - order of magnitude, to me 250, 500, 750 is all about the same - more than 100 million, less then 1 billion.
Processing is a matter of smart people working hard - If I were at B612 I would consider sending the data to a national lab...

Online Blackstar

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I should have said - order of magnitude, to me 250, 500, 750 is all about the same - more than 100 million, less then 1 billion.
Processing is a matter of smart people working hard - If I were at B612 I would consider sending the data to a national lab...

There's a big difference between $250 million and $1 billion. For planetary missions, there are three general classes:

Discovery--$425 million
New Frontiers--$750 million
Flagship missions-->$1 billion

There is a proposed Discovery class mission from JPL called NEOCam that would operate in Earth orbit. As a Discovery-class mission, it is in the $425 million class (without launch vehicle). Put a similar spacecraft in orbit near Venus, with cryo-cooling, and it's going to cost more.

http://www.nasa.gov/centers/jpl/news/mars20110505.html

Also the NEOCam principal investigator, who knows more about this subject than anybody, has said publicly that the data processing for such a mission is a definite challenge. Indeed, that's one of the reasons why NASA funded the mission for further technology development rather than selecting it outright as a possible Discovery mission.

Simply put, what B612 is proposing to do is neither simple nor cheap.

Offline MP99

AFAICT, one of the big issues with mounting manned missions to NEAs is that the number of known targets is very small

You can count the number of possible targets on one hand after cutting off three fingers.

A space-based survey is required if anybody is going to do that mission.

Absolutely.

As I said in the other thread, if someone else doesn't undertake this sort of survey, NASA needs to do it as an Exploration Precursor. If not, you have to question the NEA part of Flexible Path.

cheers, Martin

Offline notsorandom

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Ball Aerospace has the technical ability to make Sentinel. By launch time in 2016 or later SpaceX should have Falcon 9 running smoothly. I guess the question then is if B612 has or can raise the necessary money. As Blackstar points out that is going to be a good sized pile of money.

Offline baldusi

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The B612 technology is not a big step, in fact it is well within the current technology, for instance a random search
picked up this web site
http://www.teledyne-si.com/infrared_visible_fpas/index.html
that shows a MWIR arrays at 16 megapixels in 2008, it is no stretch to assume a 50% improvement in the past 4 years. As for cost the array and ASIC is probably on order $10 million, my guess is the whole satellite is on order $100 million. Maybe Launch and operations total on order $250 million.

Not even close. This is easily $500 million+

And the processing is not simple.
You don't think that a private enterprise can be made cheaper than government procured? I'm not doubting your numbers, but I'm wondering about my first question, and, if you think a private can do it for less, how much would it cost to the government.

Offline douglas100

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Even if they can do it cheaper than an equivalent NASA mission, raising hundreds of millions for a philanthropic space mission is, shall we say, ambitious.

The consensus seems to be that it is doable technically and is well worth doing. Good luck to them.
Douglas Clark

Online Blackstar

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You don't think that a private enterprise can be made cheaper than government procured? I'm not doubting your numbers, but I'm wondering about my first question, and, if you think a private can do it for less, how much would it cost to the government.

Actually, they probably _cannot_ do it much cheaper, and here's why--what very few people outside of the robotic science spacecraft community know is that the companies that build scientific spacecraft make very little profit doing so. They make their profits on DoD spacecraft, and they bid low on the scientific spacecraft because they are prestige items. I know former Lockheed officials (top ones) who have admitted this. There's also a lot of sweat equity in these missions too, meaning people working long hours without pay.

Now maybe you'd get some of that in a private procurement, but probably not more than you would with a government procurement. And frankly, if I'm a company working for some billionaire investor, why should I work cheap?

Now the thing that can drive costs up on the government side is a) funding uncertainty (for instance, OMB cuts the budget one year, forcing the project to spread out costs) and/or b) the government changes requirements, driving up change fees. But a can just as easily happen with a private funder, and b doesn't happen all that much with NASA science spacecraft--requirements generally don't creep the way they do with DoD spacecraft.

There is a popular meme that "private = cheaper" when it comes to everything space-related. But that's way too broad a brush to apply to everything. It's just not true, and you have to understand the costs and the assumptions and the drivers for each procurement.

I like the B612 Foundation, by the way (except for their stupid name, which sounds like a vitamin supplement).

Offline baldusi

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I was more wondering about FAR overhead, bidding requirements for most costs, government management overhead, etc. Big corporations usually have almost as much overhead (but don't have things like minority owned supplier requirements). Also, the govt is sort of restricted to do direct contracts and when they do, it has a lot of overhead and oversight. If you are a private and you know that only one company has the product or the knowledge, and if their quote is reasonable, you just go for it. I'm thinking more of those sort of extra costs. In other words, I don't think the saving is so much on the actual development and testing, as much as on the surrounding overhead.
There's also the case that the govt worries more about total amount of money, than present value, and that makes a lot of difference on how you administer the project's cashflow. In their page the do quote a "few hundred million" and "a firm-fix price from Ball Aerospace". So I'm not doubting that this might very well be a 700M mission. But may be they can do it for 80% of what it would cost the government.
Another thing that I read on their site, is that they've signed an SSA agreement with NASA who would provide the DSN and communication services. So NASA might need to chip in ???

Online Blackstar

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I was more wondering about FAR overhead, bidding requirements for most costs, government management overhead, etc.

There is no way that B612 has anybody capable of managing a contract in the hundreds of millions of dollars, or anybody capable of conducting technical oversight. You could wave a magic wand and dismiss all those encumbering things that the government brings to the table, but along with them comes a set of management tools and people that are required for success and oversight.

Offline Danderman

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This thread is about to break down on the issue of commercial vs government procurement efficiency, so I would suggest that anyone wanting that discussion start up their own thread.

This thread should focus on the issue of whether this not-for-profit has the capability of raising the cash for the mission and managing the mission.

Offline MP99

This thread should focus on the issue of whether this not-for-profit has the capability of raising the cash for the mission and managing the mission.

...which depends on whether commercial can actually do it cheaper than NASA procurement.

cheers, Martin

Offline baldusi

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This thread is about to break down on the issue of commercial vs government procurement efficiency, so I would suggest that anyone wanting that discussion start up their own thread.

This thread should focus on the issue of whether this not-for-profit has the capability of raising the cash for the mission and managing the mission.
We are discussing if their claims seem plausible. They have said that this project is on the amount of money of some privately funded projects (like museums, telescopes and such), but most assumed something like 200M. If it's more like 750M, I can't see how are they going to raise that money.
In particular, we are not discussing private vs government, but if they can do it for less than NASA. I know from my personal experience tha when you've managed a budget in the millions, and you do a project in the tens of millions, things get ugly. I can totally understand what Blackstar said about managing a project in the hundreds of millions. And that was the sort of discussion that's quite relevant to this thread.
At no point there was name calling, ideological issues or nothing like that. Just a discussion of where are the cost drivers and if there are any sort of private management practices that are able to handle a project like this.
When the discussion gets to "gvt sux" and "you ignorant liberal" we'll call the mods and start a new thread. For now, I've found Blackstar insights very interesting.

Offline baldusi

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BTW, Blackstar, one of the thins that interests me is that they being a not-for-profit corporation that will handle millions, I don't know if they will be able to function with little oversight. I suspect, at the very least, the IRS will want to have a good looks at their operations, not to mention the prospective donors.

Offline spectre9

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No billionaires?

No hope sorry.

Online Blackstar

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The biggest issue is going to be raising the money. It makes little difference if the cost is $750 million or "only" $200 million--$200 million is a heck of a lot of money, especially for a non-profit activity. How many museums, with long standing reputations, raise that kind of cash?

As for oversight, B612 would have to hire an independent company to provide oversight, to tell them that the contractor is doing okay. That is going to add cost.
« Last Edit: 07/01/2012 01:50 PM by Blackstar »

Online Comga

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As for interaction with Ball Aerospace, B612's Dan Durda has direct experience from the Ralph camera build for the New Horizons mission to Pluto.  Dr. Durda may or may not be the guy to run a half billion dollar program, but the relationship is established, and he works with other people who can.  In constant dollars the mission will be half the cost of New Horizons. 

Ball also regularly does commercial, fixed price work on sattelites and instruments.  They have exerience with "tailoring processes" to keep quality up and costs in hand. Sentinel is within their experience base, reducing risk, a combination of previous developments.

(Happy eleventh Birthday Quickbird, launched June 23, 2001 and still going strong!)

And I agree with Blackstar that B612 sounds like a vitamin, but we must be that handful of people who have not read the Little Prince and immediately think of the illustrations for the book.
« Last Edit: 07/02/2012 03:38 PM by Comga »
What kind of wastrels would dump a perfectly good booster in the ocean after just one use?

Offline Danderman

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The biggest issue is going to be raising the money. It makes little difference if the cost is $750 million or "only" $200 million--$200 million is a heck of a lot of money, especially for a non-profit activity. How many museums, with long standing reputations, raise that kind of cash?

As for oversight, B612 would have to hire an independent company to provide oversight, to tell them that the contractor is doing okay. That is going to add cost.

A similar spacecraft, SkyBox, is being financed for $70 million, which includes two flight units and overall corporate financing requirements. SkyBox would be launched on Dnepr, but presumably the Falcon 9 would not be that much more expensive.

Online Blackstar

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but we must be that handful of people who have not read the Little Prince and immediately think of the illustrations for the book.

"The Little Prince" is not a well-known book in the United States.

Offline go4mars

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but we must be that handful of people who have not read the Little Prince and immediately think of the illustrations for the book.

"The Little Prince" is not a well-known book in the United States.
I believe it was a cartoon (aired in Canada in the early 1980's).  I probably didn't understand it, thought the character was a girl, and found the show boring IIRC.
Elasmotherium; hurlyburly Doggerlandic Jentilak steeds insouciantly gallop in viridescent taiga, eluding deluginal Burckle's abyssal excavation.

Online Blackstar

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Bottom line: if you're going to name your organization after a pop culture character, pick one that is easily recognizable, not obscure, weird, and French.

Offline kevin-rf

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but we must be that handful of people who have not read the Little Prince and immediately think of the illustrations for the book.

"The Little Prince" is not a well-known book in the United States.

Say what? I had the book as a kid...

...Of course my parents did hitchhike to Woodstock while I was in utero, so my childhood experiences may be outside the norm.
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Offline Archibald

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Bottom line: if you're going to name your organization after a pop culture character, pick one that is easily recognizable, not obscure, weird, and French.


I fart in your general direction.

Have a nice day !
« Last Edit: 07/08/2012 06:32 AM by Archibald »

Offline GregsterMan

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[quote}

Not even close. This is easily $500 million+

And the processing is not simple.
[/quote]

Donated some money to the cause.  I asked how they were  doing in their fundraising and they just commented that they have several large donors that are providing seed money.  I was not one of them.

Offline Robert Thompson

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http://www.floridatoday.com/article/20121222/SPACE/312220018/Private-venture-wants-keep-its-wary-eye-out-asteroids
Deep-space telescope could be ready in 2018 Dec 22, 2012

Upgraded projection?

http://b612foundation.org/jointhecrew/our-supporters/
"Since June 2012 over 225 individual donors have joined ..."

Benefits include "Listing on our supporters page" for even the lowest tier contribution (Galileo), but there's no such list. Opaque. Those who put tentative skin in the game cannot stand and be counted. For crowd sourcing attribution, compare how many contributors, their canines, their canines' fleas got listed in the credits of Iron Sky.

Online Comga

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This is not going to be a small vehicle. They have it listed on an F9 but something tells me this may end up on an FH.
The spec sheet provided by B612 give the Sentinel's mass at 1,500kg. Recently released NLS II info states that the Falcon 9 1.1 will have C3 performance of about  C3=23 (km/s)^2. I'm not sure what the proposed orbit will take but it sounds doable with out a Falcon Heavy.
Agreed
This presentation on Astrodynamics has a "real world" Venus trajectory with C3=7.8 km^2/sec^2.  An F9 V1.1 should meet this with significant margin.  The choice of rocket is solid.
What kind of wastrels would dump a perfectly good booster in the ocean after just one use?

Online Comga

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There is a proposed Discovery class mission from JPL called NEOCam that would operate in Earth orbit. As a Discovery-class mission, it is in the $425 million class (without launch vehicle). Put a similar spacecraft in orbit near Venus, with cryo-cooling, and it's going to cost more.
(snip)
Simply put, what B612 is proposing to do is neither simple nor cheap.

With all due respect, JPL is not a good basis for cost estimation.  The Curiosity rover is a triumph, but its price is astounding, not only in the realm of space missions but even for Mars missions.  JPL did win a Discovery mission, but only by reflying an existing design without paying for new instruments.  Their reflight of Curiosity is discussed as $1.5B "plus or minus $200M" and eight years.  The brilliant staff at JPL know how to ring "extra nines" out of the probability of success, but not in a cost efficient manner, for institutional reasons. 

But you are right.  It is neither simple nor cheap.  Around half a billion dollars is not cheap, but it should be sufficient.
What kind of wastrels would dump a perfectly good booster in the ocean after just one use?

Offline JohnFornaro

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The B612 technology is not a big step, in fact it is well within the current technology...

As for cost the array and ASIC is probably on order $10 million, my guess is the whole satellite is on order $100 million. Maybe Launch and operations total on order $250 million.

Not even close. This is easily $500 million+

And the processing is not simple.

You don't think that a private enterprise can be made cheaper than government procured? I'm not doubting your numbers, but I'm wondering about my first question, and, if you think a private can do it for less, how much would it cost to the government.

I think there is little doubt that a private enterprise can do a mission of this sort for less than the federal government.  But BlackStar did not deny this general observation, in this particular post.  He simply asserted that your estimate was too low, and offered an estimate of his own.

He usually doesn't answer my questions, but still, I would ask:

Does the estimate of $500M include a heuristic factor that acknowledges the pricing advantages of private space efforts versus government space efforts?

I see that he did answer this question somewhat:

Now maybe you'd get some of that in a private procurement, but probably not more than you would with a government procurement.

To me, this underscores the difficulty of guessing the price tag of such an ambitious mission.

This thread is about to break down on the issue of commercial vs government procurement efficiency, so I would suggest that anyone wanting that discussion start up their own thread.

This thread should focus on the issue of whether this not-for-profit has the capability of raising the cash for the mission and managing the mission.

Good point, but as MP99 pointed out, the commercial vs. government pricing comparison is intimately tied into the speculation.

The range of $200M to $750M is a huge one; all else being equal in the fundraising, you'd get to $200M before you'd get to $750M.

Quote from: the oracle
B-612 was the name of the asteroid the little prince lived on.

Bottom line: if you're going to name your organization after a pop culture character, pick one that is easily recognizable, not obscure, weird, and French.

Sigh.

Of course my parents did hitchhike to Woodstock while I was in utero...

Kevin!  You rock, so to speak...

Anyhow, this thing's about as tall as the Citigroup building, which only cost $192M.  I don't think they can get it on an F9.
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

Offline MP99

Their reflight of Curiosity is discussed as $1.5B "plus or minus $200M"

I wonder how much of that is creating the new instrument/experiment package?

ISTM B612 won't be bootstrapping innovative new instrument types on their mission.

cheers, Martin

Online Blackstar

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With all due respect, JPL is not a good basis for cost estimation.

The key issue here is that it was proposed for a Discovery-class competition and it is cost-capped. That means that whoever proposes it has to prove to a review team at NASA HQ that it can be done for the cost cap. Now considering that NEOCam did not make it into the final round of Discovery, it's not possible to say with any kind of certainty that it could have made the cost cap. But it did receive technology funding from NASA HQ, which can at least be accepted as tacit acceptance from HQ that the mission is doable within the Discovery budget, if it ever gets selected. (I happen to have worked with the PI. That person is very familiar with orbiting survey telescopes.)

Bottom line is that this is a mission that the experts who do this stuff happen to believe is in the Discovery (~$500 million) cost range.

Online Blackstar

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Their reflight of Curiosity is discussed as $1.5B "plus or minus $200M"

1-I wonder how much of that is creating the new instrument/experiment package?

2-ISTM B612 won't be bootstrapping innovative new instrument types on their mission.

1-By total coincidence, this past week I happened to talk to the person who headed the team that did the independent cost estimate for the Mars 2020 rover and asked him that exact question. According to him, when the Mars Program Planning Group evaluated several possible rover designs, they baselined the instrument package as a sample cacher, essentially the same one that was in the planetary science decadal survey. (If I remember correctly, that cacher had 19 cylindrical sample compartments.) The instrument package also included a drill. They had to make minor variations depending upon the size of the rover (like adjusting the size of the drill), but he said that the instrument suite did not drive the cost estimate for the Mars 2020 rover. In addition, he said that they went through JPL's MSL/Curiosity books quite thoroughly in order to develop their estimate. (Think of it as an outside audit.) I think the most important thing to keep in mind is that the $1.5 billion estimate for the Mars 2020 rover is not a JPL estimate, it is an independent estimate.

2-You might want to look at their proposal more closely. From what I remember there are two aspects to it that are new. The first is the survey detector itself. Nothing like that has been flown before. Now it's not totally unprecedented (WISE and Kepler had survey telescopes), but it is not a clone of a previous instrument. Second, it has a cryo-cooler technology that has not been flown before. Now I could be wrong about this, but I'm pretty sure that they're not talking about taking off-the-shelf components here. They're going to have to develop this stuff.
« Last Edit: 12/23/2012 08:01 PM by Blackstar »

Online Comga

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From the spec. sheet on there web site,

http://b612foundation.org/media/sentinelmission/

this looks like it could be a real nice optic, my first cut analysis says on order 25 micron pixel pitch, f1 to f2, probably Cassigrain, no big technology hurtles.

These are not at all reasonable assumptions.

This cannot be a Cassegrain, as those are narrow field devices with curve fields, and far IR field flatteners are troublesome and unnecessary.  F/1 and F/2 are way too fast. 

Previous Ball Aerospace instruments discussed in public include Three Mirror Anastigmats (TMAs) (Ralph on New Horizons and others) and folded TMAs, and four mirror telescopes (Operational Landsat Imager on LDCM).   Those are also unobscurred systems, which have other advantages.  Previously discussed IR focal planes have smaller pixels than you suggest.  Ralph is passively cooled athermal instrument and Spitzer used radiative cooling behind a sunshade. 

However, your conclusion is valid. This will be a real nice optic without enormous technological hurdles, although there are always some.
What kind of wastrels would dump a perfectly good booster in the ocean after just one use?

Offline Archibald

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Quote
Quote from: Blackstar on 07/03/2012 12:23 PM

    Bottom line: if you're going to name your organization after a pop culture character, pick one that is easily recognizable, not obscure, weird, and French.


Sigh.



Bottom line: if you're going to name your organization after a pop culture character, pick one that is easily recognizable, not obscure, weird, and French.


I fart in your general direction.

Have a nice day !

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Did you happen to hit "return" again by accident?

Offline simonbp

This cannot be a Cassegrain, as those are narrow field devices with curve fields, and far IR field flatteners are troublesome and unnecessary.  F/1 and F/2 are way too fast.

The primary might be that fast; IIRC Kepler was pretty similar.

But like Kepler, the optimal for a wide field would be a Schmidt with the focal plane in the middle of the tube.
« Last Edit: 12/26/2012 11:00 PM by simonbp »

Online Blackstar

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A new article:

http://www.floridatoday.com/article/20121222/SPACE/312220018/Private-venture-wants-keep-its-wary-eye-out-asteroids

Private venture wants to keep its wary eye out for asteroids
Deep-space telescope could be ready in 2018
7:12 AM, Dec 22, 2012   | 

An asteroid measuring half a city block will pass close by the Earth on Feb. 15, but poses no threat. The University of Central Florida in Orlando plans to host a viewing event using live feeds from telescopes in Spain to watch the pass of the asteroid designated 2012 DA14, expected around 2:30 p.m. local time.

So, the world did not end Friday because of an asteroid blast or any of the other calamities imagined to be predicted by the ancient Mayan calendar.

But some say a serious asteroid strike is just a matter of time, and we should be ready.

For evidence of what might come, see the 1908 “Tunguska event” in Siberia, said Ed Lu, a former shuttle and International Space Station astronaut who heads the nonprofit B612 Foundation (the name references the asteroid home from “The Little Prince.”)



(more in a second)

Online Blackstar

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From the above-cited article:

"To open Earth’s eyes, the B612 Foundation has partnered with Boulder, Colo.-based Ball Aerospace to design and build a roughly $500 million infrared space telescope able to spot hundreds of thousands of asteroids.

The proposed spacecraft, which has passed a preliminary technical review, is the size of a FedEx van . The foundation hopes to launch it on a SpaceX rocket by 2018, possibly from Cape Canaveral."


To my knowledge, this is the first time I've seen an article actually quote a price for their space telescope. I noted earlier that JPL's NEOCam proposal was for the Discovery program, which is in the $450 million range. That is for an Earth orbiting satellite. I think that B612's estimate of "roughly $500 million" is probably low. Sending the spacecraft to a near-Venus orbit and cryo-cooling it increases the cost. And I know from the NEO study we did a few years ago that Ball Aerospace's cost for a similar mission was in the $600 million cost range.

This project is highly unlikely to happen, but I do hope that B612 gets somebody to do an independent cost estimate for them.
« Last Edit: 12/27/2012 01:49 AM by Blackstar »

Online Comga

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This cannot be a Cassegrain, as those are narrow field devices with curve fields, and far IR field flatteners are troublesome and unnecessary.  F/1 and F/2 are way too fast.

The primary might be that fast; IIRC Kepler was pretty similar.

But like Kepler, the optimal for a wide field would be a Schmidt with the focal plane in the middle of the tube.

Your point could be reasonable until you consider a cryogenic, mid-IR Schmidt plate.  Kepler was for visible light, and the Schmidt plate is made of Fused  Silica.  And remember, Kepler was for precision radiometry on as large a number of targets that can fit on the staring focal plane.  Sentinel will be for astrometry, and can trade field of view for other things including exposure time before repointing.   The optimum FOV will not be as large as Kepler.

It is not a Cassegrain.  It is not a Ritchey-Chretien.  It is not a Schmidt.
What kind of wastrels would dump a perfectly good booster in the ocean after just one use?

Offline simonbp

Yeah, I forgot they were doing mid-IR (5-10 micron). I'm not quite convinced that's the most efficient route (because of the sunshield, they are always looking at high phase angle, so reflected sunlight is going to be far brighter than mid-IR emission), but hey, it's their money...
« Last Edit: 12/27/2012 06:52 PM by simonbp »

Offline MP99

Their reflight of Curiosity is discussed as $1.5B "plus or minus $200M"

1-I wonder how much of that is creating the new instrument/experiment package?

2-ISTM B612 won't be bootstrapping innovative new instrument types on their mission.

1-By total coincidence, this past week I happened to talk to the person who headed the team that did the independent cost estimate for the Mars 2020 rover and asked him that exact question. According to him, when the Mars Program Planning Group evaluated several possible rover designs, they baselined the instrument package as a sample cacher, essentially the same one that was in the planetary science decadal survey. (If I remember correctly, that cacher had 19 cylindrical sample compartments.) The instrument package also included a drill. They had to make minor variations depending upon the size of the rover (like adjusting the size of the drill), but he said that the instrument suite did not drive the cost estimate for the Mars 2020 rover. In addition, he said that they went through JPL's MSL/Curiosity books quite thoroughly in order to develop their estimate. (Think of it as an outside audit.) I think the most important thing to keep in mind is that the $1.5 billion estimate for the Mars 2020 rover is not a JPL estimate, it is an independent estimate.

2-You might want to look at their proposal more closely. From what I remember there are two aspects to it that are new. The first is the survey detector itself. Nothing like that has been flown before. Now it's not totally unprecedented (WISE and Kepler had survey telescopes), but it is not a clone of a previous instrument. Second, it has a cryo-cooler technology that has not been flown before. Now I could be wrong about this, but I'm pretty sure that they're not talking about taking off-the-shelf components here. They're going to have to develop this stuff.

Thanks for setting me straight, on both fronts. Always appreciate the insights from yourself & others involved.

cheers, Martin

Offline MP99

Yeah, I forgot they were doing mid-IR (5-10 micron). I'm not quite convinced that's the most efficient route (because of the sunshield, they are always looking at high phase angle, so reflected sunlight is going to be far brighter than mid-IR emission), but hey, it's their money...

1) ISTM IR would have an advantage detecting objects with low albedo, in that the visible light that's absorbed is re-transmitted as IR. Especially for objects relatively close to the Sun, IE ~1AU?

2) How does the relative brightness of NEOs (IR vs visible) compare with other objects, IE do NEOs stand out against other objects better in IR than visible? If so, would that help the survey process?

cheers, Martin

Offline JohnFornaro

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The first part from another thread, reposted here for context in the B612 effort.

It creates an HLV that's too big.

My question is:  too big for what?  Without knowing the mission, how can we know the ideal size for SLS?  For all we know it might be too small.

Unfortunately, that question cannot be answered at this time.  I would say that it might be better if it weren't even asked.

First, it's clearly too big to launch a cubesat to LEO, and too small to send a manned Orion capsule  to Europa.  In the same way that there's NSoV for any given manned mission, there's also always a mission that is too big or too small for a given rocket.

Second, if the only selection criteria for any mission/LV combination is "ideal", then there is little chance that an acceptable mission profile will be designed.  From the national pool of "rocket scientists", Congress chose a subset of these individuals, who recommended the 70-11-130 LV evolutionary path for the LV.  President Obama chose a slightly different subset of these "experts", and came up with the Flexible Path as the mission profile with the most useful political characteristics for his administration.  Just like NSoV and "too big or too small" (TB/TS?), there will always be political support for a mission with some scientific return; an interesting, but marketable degree of difficulty; and an industrial constituency which could execute that chosen mission.

That's why, over the last few years, the asteroid mission has been carefully and painstakingly marketed.  SLS, in its 130 ton version is emminently suited, these experts maintain, for that mission.  Resistance is, as they say, futile.

04-15-10

BTDT

02-28-11

http://archives.newyorker.com/?i=2011-02-28#folio=022

Quote
Duane Day, the study director of
"Defending Planet Earth", ... concluded ... should a large NEO object be observed heading our way a response would be difficult to coordinate as, "there would likely be a tendency for the entire social structure to collapse".

Rusty Schweickart does not agree with this assessment.

Quote
"The actuarial argument is important," [Clark] Chapman now told [Brian] Wilcox.  But, unlike with Hurricaine Katrina, we can do something about an asteroid."

Rusty Schweickart does agree with this assessment. Chapman's statement is a false assertion.

Because the political constituency has already been forged, these "scientists" are free to propose "facts", which do not adhere to the principles of testability, falsifiability, and tentativeness.

Quote
Schweickart's bold vision had carried the day, and the recommendations included ... spending as much as three billion dollars over ten years to, among other things, place an infared telescope into a Venus-like orbit, and test both kinetic impacotrs and gravity tractors.

The amount of federal dollars proposed at that time for this effort is reasonable, by my take, since research on the topic has merit.

Quote
NASA has already indicated that it doesn't have the [$650 M] needed to fund the telescope.

Today's bid is $500M.  But now I sound like I'm having a bolide about this.

B612 has done a dynamite job of putting their brand in the media. 

06-28-12

http://b612foundation.org/media/in-the-news/

06-28-12

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2012/06/120628-first-private-asteroid-mission-sentinel-b612-nasa-space-science/

http://news.stanford.edu/news/2012/june/sentinel-space-telescope-062812.html

http://www.popsci.com/technology/article/2012-06/first-privately-funded-deep-space-mission-will-chart-all-asteroids-inner-solar-system

http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/crowd-funded-space-telescope-to-spy-dangerous-space-rocks/2012/06/28/gJQAbA3t8V_story.html

Quote from: one of the WaPo comments
Hate to disappoint you but there is already a major consortium undertaking this very project which Ed Lu ought to know about. It's called NEOShield and is auspiced by the European Space Agency (ESA). One of the major participants is EADS Astrium, the largest aerospace company under the ESA umbrella.
From its website:
 http://www.neoshield.net/en/index.htm

http://spaceref.com/asteroids/b612-foundation-announces-first-privately-funded-deep-space-mission.html

06-29-12

http://lightyears.blogs.cnn.com/2012/06/29/telescope-aims-to-head-off-asteriods-impact-on-earth/

http://arstechnica.com/science/2012/06/first-private-deep-space-mission-will-search-for-earth-destroying-asteroids/

Quote
The B612 Foundation unofficially began in 2001. Astrophysicist Piet Hut and former astronaut Ed Lu held a 2001 workshop on Near-Earth Asteroids in Houston.

Quite the long term plan, and very admirable from that standpoint.

07-07-12

http://www.floridatoday.com/article/20121222/SPACE/312220018/Private-venture-wants-keep-its-wary-eye-out-asteroids?gcheck=1&nclick_check=1

12-22-12

http://www.economist.com/node/21558244

08-27-10

http://www.forbes.com/sites/bruceupbin/2010/08/27/elon-musk-jeff-bezos-licked-by-james-lick-in-space-race/

MacDonald’s paper is here. His thesis also validates the Obama administration’s agenda to encourage private space enterprise...[/quote]

My thinking is as follows: 

B612 has been in the planning stages for many years, which nobody should have a problem with.  They have reduced their pricetag from $650M to $500M, which is in contrast with most mission pricing history.  From reading their pressers, this price may include the LV costs, launch costs, and operating costs over five and a half years, with the F9 as their stated LV at present.  Nobody on this forum has suggested an alternate pricetag for their described mission.  Arguments from authority have been made that their pricetag is too low, and this opinion is probably accepted by most of the posters here.

It would not be surprising to find out that they are also lobbying Congress for financial support for these three line items, using the SLS LV instead.  This "synergy" would be in keeping with the President's stated intentions along the lines of "public/private partnerships". 

Who would make the case that this group of individuals is not well connected politically?  Who would make the case that they would not seek federal support for their foundation?  "Not surprising" doesn't mean any more than what it says. 

Neither is it surprising to conclude that SLS is being optimized for an asteroid mission, not a lunar mission.  The President has dictated this asteroid mission, using the biggest rocket that Congress and the President approved.

This is where the HSF community is at the end of 2012.
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

Offline Proponent

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From the above-cited article:

"To open Earth’s eyes, the B612 Foundation has partnered with Boulder, Colo.-based Ball Aerospace to design and build a roughly $500 million infrared space telescope able to spot hundreds of thousands of asteroids.

The proposed spacecraft, which has passed a preliminary technical review, is the size of a FedEx van . The foundation hopes to launch it on a SpaceX rocket by 2018, possibly from Cape Canaveral."


To my knowledge, this is the first time I've seen an article actually quote a price for their space telescope. I noted earlier that JPL's NEOCam proposal was for the Discovery program, which is in the $450 million range. That is for an Earth orbiting satellite. I think that B612's estimate of "roughly $500 million" is probably low. Sending the spacecraft to a near-Venus orbit and cryo-cooling it increases the cost. And I know from the NEO study we did a few years ago that Ball Aerospace's cost for a similar mission was in the $600 million cost range.

Perhaps I'm reading the article too literally, but it says that the "roughly $500 million" is for the telescope; launch and other mission costs are not mentioned.

Regarding the $600 million-ish estimate from Ball for the past NEO study, did did that include the launch?  If so, I'd guess we're talking about an Atlas V?  If B612 uses a Falcon, that might knock a couple of hundred million off.

Offline Proponent

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Yeah, I forgot they were doing mid-IR (5-10 micron). I'm not quite convinced that's the most efficient route (because of the sunshield, they are always looking at high phase angle, so reflected sunlight is going to be far brighter than mid-IR emission), but hey, it's their money...

What are typical asteroid albedos in the visible range?

Wouldn't asteroids tend to be brighter at wavelengths somewhat longer than 10 microns?  (Just guessing most are at about 200 K).  If so, is this outweighed by noise considerations (principally keeping the hardware cool enough)?

Online Comga

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2-You might want to look at their proposal more closely. From what I remember there are two aspects to it that are new.

The first is the survey detector itself. Nothing like that has been flown before. Now it's not totally unprecedented (WISE and Kepler had survey telescopes), but it is not a clone of a previous instrument.

Second, it has a cryo-cooler technology that has not been flown before. Now I could be wrong about this, but I'm pretty sure that they're not talking about taking off-the-shelf components here. They're going to have to develop this stuff.

It is a bold statement to say that "nothing like that (the Focal Plane Assembly" has ever been flown before".  Ball has built lots of multi-array focal planes, including OLI (now scheduled to be launched in February) with 14 hybridized HgCdTe detector arrays.  Kepler was a much larger focal plane, and it had to reside in the center of the telescope, which is harder than the Sentinel arrangement.  You are right that it "is not a clone" but Ball has done many successful one-of-a-kind Focal Plane assemblies.

The cryo-cooler technology has been in development for decades and may have flown already.  This is not something totally new.  Whether it would meet NASA's "TRL-9" for a five year mission I could not say. 
What kind of wastrels would dump a perfectly good booster in the ocean after just one use?

Online Blackstar

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Perhaps I'm reading the article too literally, but it says that the "roughly $500 million" is for the telescope; launch and other mission costs are not mentioned.

Regarding the $600 million-ish estimate from Ball for the past NEO study, did did that include the launch?  If so, I'd guess we're talking about an Atlas V?  If B612 uses a Falcon, that might knock a couple of hundred million off.

I don't think we can sift the data that finely--give or take $100 million, because we're talking about rough estimates and work done four years ago vs. today. My point was that I thought that this is the first time that B612 has indicated that this is roughly a half billion dollar project, which is what I wrote earlier.

Offline JohnFornaro

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So who's paying for B612's LV and ops costs?
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

Online Chris Bergin

OUR COSMIC CHALLENGE
STATEMENT FROM ED LU, CEO, B16 FOUNDATION


 
The B612 Foundation believes we should find threatening asteroids before they find us. The undetected meteor explosion over Chelyabinsk on February 15 is our wake-up call that the Earth orbits the Sun in a shooting gallery of asteroids, and that these asteroids sometimes hit the Earth. On this same day, a separate and larger asteroid, 2012 DA14, narrowly missed the Earth passing beneath the orbits of our communications satellites.
 
We have the technology to deflect asteroids, but we cannot do anything about the objects we don't know exist. To date, less than 1% of asteroids larger than the one that leveled Tunguska in 1908 have been tracked. The B612 Foundation Sentinel Space Telescope, to be launched in 2018, will provide a comprehensive map of the locations and trajectories of threatening asteroids and will give humanity the decades of warning needed to prevent asteroid impacts with existing technology.
 
By the end of its planned lifetime, Sentinel will have discovered well over 90% of the asteroids that could destroy entire regions of Earth on impact (those larger than 350ft in diameter) and more than 50% of the currently unknown DA14-like near-Earth asteroids.
 
The B612 Foundation has undertaken this Sentinel project as a non-governmental initiative, somewhat akin to a growing number of private space ventures originated in the past few years. The foundation is not undertaking this project for profit; we are a non-profit corporation. Our motivation is strictly to ensure the survival of life on Earth – all of it. And while NASA is cooperating with us by providing certain communication and analytic services, we are excited, as a private venture, to welcome the participation of all the crew of Spaceship Earth in this great endeavor.
 
We have to answer the question: Does the crew of Spaceship Earth raise our awareness and accept responsibility for our voyage into the future? Or do we sit back as passengers, comfortably assuming that there must be a captain and crew doing this job on our behalf? The B612 Sentinel mission is testament to our belief that we, together, are responsible for the future of life on our small planet. We invite you to join us by going on our website: www.b612foundation.org and on Twitter (@b612foundation) to help us address this cosmic challenge.

About the B612 Foundation
The B612 Foundation is building, launching, and operating the world’s first privately funded interplanetary space telescope mission to create the first comprehensive dynamic map of our inner solar system, identifying the current and future locations and trajectories of Earth crossing asteroids. Mapping the great unknown of the inner solar system is the first step to opening up this next frontier.  The B612 Foundation believes that humanity can harness the power of science and technology to protect the future of civilization on this planet, while extending our reach into the solar system.

Offline Star One

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These recent events have perfectly demonstrated why a project like this should be made a reality?

Online LouScheffer

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There is no way that B612 has anybody capable of managing a contract in the hundreds of millions of dollars, or anybody capable of conducting technical oversight.
This is not at all obvious.  I'm not saying they have such people, but they surely exist and might well be interested.  A few hundred million is not a huge project in industry, and even the larger non-profits (mostly in the medical area) do projects this size, so there are plenty of managers who could do this if needed.  Technical oversight for a targeted mission such as this is also largely within the domain of one person - think of Borucki and Kepler, for example.  (If you were talking a Cassini like mission, with lots of conflicting objectives and wildly different instruments, then that would be a different story).

Offline Robert Thompson

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http://www.spacenews.com/article/civil-space/34885b612-foundation-puts-a-price-on-asteroid-detection-mission#.UW4pi0p36ho
(A free account is required I believe)

"Sentinel would not be the optimal instrument for detecting relatively small asteroids, such as the 25-meter rock NASA plans to haul to lunar orbit ...

B612 will give the agency access to the data the Sentinel telescope gathers in return for access to NASA’s Deep Space Network communication system"

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And yesterday NASA put out a press release saying "NASA-Funded Asteroid Tracking Sensor Passes Key Test". 

In the last several hundred posts they have only used the term "NASA funded" once for some work done at Stanford.  All other work done at NASA centers is assumed to be "NASA funded".  Sounds like someone is feeling a little competitive with advances in the private sector. 

So NEOCam at JPL and Sentinel at Ball Aerospace are both working on their detector systems.  The missions are similar, except that NEOCam is supposed to go to Earth-Sun L1 and Sentinel into an orbit between Earths's and Venus's, and NEOCam has two IR bands vs Sentinel's one.  Both have 0.50 meter apertures and their spacecraft and telescope configurations appear to be very similar.  There are advantages and disadvantages to both orbits, and for all of you armchair mission designers, they have been thought through very carefully. 

It will be fascinating to see if either one of these flies.
What kind of wastrels would dump a perfectly good booster in the ocean after just one use?

Offline catdlr

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bump..

Asteroid Impacts on Earth More Powerful than Nuclear Bomb | Video

Published on Apr 22, 2014
Between 2000 and 2013, 26 explosions ranging from 1-600 kilotons have been detected by the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization's network of sensors. The bomb that decimated Hiroshima had an energy equivalent of 15 kilotons.

Tony De La Rosa

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Sounds like someone is feeling a little competitive with advances in the private sector. 

It's not "advances" in the public sector that bug them, it's misleading rhetoric. If you stepped back and looked at all the asteroid detection work going on in the U.S., the vast majority of it is NASA funded. And yet NASA doesn't get much credit for it, whereas B612 is in the news all the time (and not actually doing much detection work or technology development).

Offline A_M_Swallow

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B612 report the ones NASA missed.  Let them take the blame until NASA is able to warn about a dangerous asteroid.

Offline Jarnis

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I applaud the effort of B612 foundation but I'm going to be a pessimist here;

Asteroid threat will be downplayed and tracking & detection resources will be minimal because there is no immediate ROI on it.

This will continue until the day comes when there IS a crater (or a big splash) that causes loss of life. Earth being so big, odds are reasonable that this will be in a sparsely populated area. Most likely scenario would be ocean splashdown with big enough tsunami to cause some damage on nearby coastal areas.

Once some people have died and there is a worldwide media frenzy over it, ass-covering politicians will divert considerable funds to protect their re-election from the threat of yet another space rock.

I just hope the number of people that have to die is small and I hope I'm not one of the very unlucky ones. I know I'm probably more likely to be hit by a bolt of lightning or driven over by a bus, so I won't be losing any sleep over it, but I am aware that someone is going to be the poor guy who beats the odds.

I just hope we won't get really unlucky and get hit by a proper "city killer" in a densely populated area as our required wake-up call. Odds are low but not zero.

Chelyabinsk was a good reminder for those who understand the threat but unfortunately it was too small and caused too little damage to trigger a response from the politicians. Besides, it was in Russia. Who cares if some Russian windows got shattered and some people got minor injuries, right?

Offline Jarnis

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On a somewhat related note, anyone happen to know what would be the "minimum size to make a crater" for an asteroid on Earth? I'm aware that it depends on the composition, angle and direction of re-entry etc. but I'm wondering of a ballpark figure as to how big a rock would need to be to survive all the way to the ground in substantially one piece and what kind of kaboom it would produce.

I assume Meteor Crater in Arizona is way bigger than the minimum for a hole in the ground.

And yes, I'm aware that such an impact would almost certainly have some secondaries that are much smaller (having broken off the main piece during atmospheric entry)


Offline go4mars

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"minimum size to make a crater" for an asteroid on Earth? I'm aware that it depends on the composition, angle and direction of re-entry etc. but I'm wondering of a ballpark figure as to how big a rock would need to be to survive all the way to the ground...    secondaries that are much smaller (having broken off the main piece during atmospheric entry)
Buzzard Coulee Meteorite had a 13 kg fragment that left a head-sized divet in the frozen ground.
Elasmotherium; hurlyburly Doggerlandic Jentilak steeds insouciantly gallop in viridescent taiga, eluding deluginal Burckle's abyssal excavation.

Offline NovaSilisko

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On a somewhat related note, anyone happen to know what would be the "minimum size to make a crater" for an asteroid on Earth? I'm aware that it depends on the composition, angle and direction of re-entry etc. but I'm wondering of a ballpark figure as to how big a rock would need to be to survive all the way to the ground in substantially one piece and what kind of kaboom it would produce.

I assume Meteor Crater in Arizona is way bigger than the minimum for a hole in the ground.

And yes, I'm aware that such an impact would almost certainly have some secondaries that are much smaller (having broken off the main piece during atmospheric entry)

http://impact.ese.ic.ac.uk/ImpactEffects/

Could be useful, try fiddling around with parameters here til you get a good figure for the minimum size of something that makes a crater.

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On a somewhat related note, anyone happen to know what would be the "minimum size to make a crater" for an asteroid on Earth?

The Chelyabinsk one punched a hole in the ice. Assume that was ground and it would have left a crater.

Just about any rock that makes it to the ground at terminal velocity is going to leave an indentation in the ground, so I imagine that the size can be pretty small. It will depend upon what you consider to be a "crater."

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I applaud the effort of B612 foundation but I'm going to be a pessimist here;

Asteroid threat will be downplayed and tracking & detection resources will be minimal because there is no immediate ROI on it.

I think you are characterizing it wrong. It is not an issue of return on investment, it is an issue of public safety, and therefore it is a calculation of risk vs. cost.

The risk is very very low. It is much lower than common events like earthquakes, hurricanes and tornadoes. When you deal with very low risk events, the calculations of what is a justifiable cost become really difficult and not logical. That's what is happening here. The risk is so low that it's hard to figure out if we should spend $40 million per year or $100 million per year. And keep in mind that the expenditure has an opportunity cost, because you're not spending that money on something else.

I think the Russians should get the wary eye on this. Twice in approximately one century their territory has been hit by a relatively large meteor. So if anybody should recognize the risk it should be them, and they should be spending the most money on this. They're not. There is no reason why the United States should be spending the most money on this subject. Why isn't the rest of the world doing more?


Offline gospacex

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On a somewhat related note, anyone happen to know what would be the "minimum size to make a crater" for an asteroid on Earth?

For strong bodies (solid rock or iron/nickel), size of 20-30 meters before atmospheric entry would be needed for sizable part to survive entry and reach ground at above terminal velocity.

If it's a rubble pile, even much larger sizes would result in Tunguska-like atmospheric blast.

Offline Jarnis

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On a somewhat related note, anyone happen to know what would be the "minimum size to make a crater" for an asteroid on Earth?

The Chelyabinsk one punched a hole in the ice. Assume that was ground and it would have left a crater.

Just about any rock that makes it to the ground at terminal velocity is going to leave an indentation in the ground, so I imagine that the size can be pretty small. It will depend upon what you consider to be a "crater."

I was thinking more along the lines of "minimum size for it to stay together mostly intact" resulting in a big boom on impact, but that seems to vary a lot depending on what the asteroid is made of, entry angle, speed... so "it depends" would be the answer to that. And it would have to be fairly big and going relatively slow for getting that "one big rock going all the way to the ground and make a hole"-effect.

Any smaller, any faster etc. and it will inevitably break up in the atmosphere resulting a boom in the sky and a bunch of small fragments hitting the ground at relatively low velocity.

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I was thinking more along the lines of "minimum size for it to stay together mostly intact" resulting in a big boom on impact,

At the risk of being a nudge, I'd only add that it doesn't have to stay together mostly intact to cause significant impact damage. Most of the Chelyabinsk meteor blew up and burned up. The piece that hit the lake would have caused significant damage to a building if it hit.

But these things are really hard to wrap our heads around. When I was a kid, the popular depiction of an asteroid/meteor was a big chunk of iron that hit with a lot of velocity and power. It's harder to understand/comprehend a big pile of rubble that can cause immense blast damage and leave relatively little material on the ground.

Offline A_M_Swallow

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I was thinking more along the lines of "minimum size for it to stay together mostly intact" resulting in a big boom on impact,

At the risk of being a nudge, I'd only add that it doesn't have to stay together mostly intact to cause significant impact damage. Most of the Chelyabinsk meteor blew up and burned up. The piece that hit the lake would have caused significant damage to a building if it hit.

But these things are really hard to wrap our heads around. When I was a kid, the popular depiction of an asteroid/meteor was a big chunk of iron that hit with a lot of velocity and power. It's harder to understand/comprehend a big pile of rubble that can cause immense blast damage and leave relatively little material on the ground.

In military terms an asteroid can come in as a single shell or as shrapnel.  Both are dangerous.  Many buildings have been destroyed by shells.  Lots of soldiers have been killed by shrapnel.  The combination is worse.

Offline Star One

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Asteroid experts plan privately funded Sentinel Space Telescope
« Reply #80 on: 04/28/2015 09:09 PM »
Space Telescope Concepts Seek To Detect Smaller Near-Earth Asteroids

Quote
The ability of the Sentinel space telescope to detect up to 80 percent of potentially hazardous near-Earth objects at least 40 meters in diameter is possible if it works in parallel with a ground-based telescope, the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST), now under construction, said mission director Harold Reitsema,.

- See more at: http://spacenews.com/space-telescope-concepts-seek-to-detect-smaller-near-earth-asteroids/#sthash.0ftgvYum.dpuf
« Last Edit: 04/28/2015 09:16 PM by Star One »

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Space Telescope Concepts Seek To Detect Smaller Near-Earth Asteroids

Quote
The ability of the Sentinel space telescope to detect up to 80 percent of potentially hazardous near-Earth objects at least 40 meters in diameter is possible if it works in parallel with a ground-based telescope, the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST), now under construction, said mission director Harold Reitsema,.

- See more at: http://spacenews.com/space-telescope-concepts-seek-to-detect-smaller-near-earth-asteroids/#sthash.0ftgvYum.dpuf

Well, yeah, and if my grandmother had wheels she'd be a wagon...

How long ago did B612 propose Sentinel? And how much money have they raised toward building it? And are the original cost estimates given to them by the contractor valid anymore considering that they are now old?

I don't think that people take them seriously anymore. They might have been better off if they had started smaller, like an asteroid-spotting CubeSat, and gotten some traction with that. But they ran out of the gate with a half-billion-dollar-plus spacecraft and have not met any milestones. I'm entirely sympathetic to their cause, but what matters is results.

Offline Star One

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Well I was rather surprised TBH to hear something about them again after all this time as I thought they might have gone the way of the dinosaurs.

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Well I was rather surprised TBH to hear something about them again after all this time as I thought they might have gone the way of the dinosaurs.

They have been more quiet than usual. I have also heard that they have changed their lobbying strategy--instead of seeking private investment, they are trying to get government funding for at least part of the mission (although whether that is 10% or 90% I don't know). But that's not really going to work. JPL already has a good proposal called NEOCam that has received more study and vetting than Sentinel. If NASA was going to strategically fund an asteroid search mission, it seems more likely that they would select the JPL mission that already has built the detector.

Online Robotbeat

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Maybe they aren't really trying to get NASA to pay to build it, but to pay for data once it's launched? That's very low risk for NASA, but would help B612 get funding to build it.

Similar things have been done in the past, like the Sabatier reactor on ISS.
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

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Maybe they aren't really trying to get NASA to pay to build it, but to pay for data once it's launched? That's very low risk for NASA, but would help B612 get funding to build it.


Except that they need money up front, not commitments down the road.

Now maybe they could take down-stream commitments to potential backers and say "See? NASA will buy the data if you actually fund the telescope." But that's a dubious argument.

And here's the thing--B612 has had a Space Act Agreement with NASA for quite awhile now (I think it is almost two years). Last I heard, B612 had not even met the first milestone in their SAA with NASA. Why in tarnation would NASA sign a monetary agreement with an organization that has already reneged on a non-monetary agreement?

Offline jg

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ATLAS: Asteroid Terrestrial-impact Last Alert System
« Reply #86 on: 05/04/2015 11:31 PM »
Hey, guys: *not everything is cheaper from orbit*.  In fact, usually, if you can do it from the ground, it's cheaper on the ground.  Save the orbit stuff for places it really helps.

A friend of mine is PI on the ATLAS project, which is bringing up ground based telescopes to give early warning of smaller nearby asteroids that may hit us (think 1 day to 1 week warning).  If the first two telescopes succeed, there will probably be others elsewhere in the world.

See http://fallingstar.com/home.php

Guess what?  it is funded by NASA.

The pathfinder telescope has already started to detect and upload asteroid discoveries; the full system should be mostly going later this year.

Has the most fun 10kX10k CCD you can possibly imagine....



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ATLAS isn't very useful for detecting anything that isn't already very close, which is just about everything.

If you want to do a comprehensive survey, you need a space-based telescope with a diameter of more than 0.25 meters.

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Panstarrs is cataloging the bigger asteroids.  They are not finished yet.  The projects are complimentary.

ATLAS gives you warning to get people out of the way when it is too late to think about other action.

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Panstarrs is cataloging the bigger asteroids.  They are not finished yet.  The projects are complimentary.

ATLAS gives you warning to get people out of the way when it is too late to think about other action.

Pan-STARRS really won't do it. The clearly established goal is the George E. Brown, Jr. Near-Earth Object Survey Act, and Pan-STARRS won't accomplish that, let alone find small asteroids. And ATLAS provides such last minute warning that effective evacuation is probably not possible.

https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/109/hr1022


Online LouScheffer

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And ATLAS provides such last minute warning that effective evacuation is probably not possible.

Here is what ATLAS is supposed to achieve:
Quote
ATLAS can provide one day's warning for a 30-kiloton "town killer," a week for a 5-megaton "city killer," and three weeks for a 100-megaton "county killer".
Given that most of the Earth's surface is sparsely inhabited, this seems like enough time to evacuate, in general.  Short warning and a big city with poor transportation would indeed be a problem, but is statistically less likely.

Offline jimvela

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Space Telescope Concepts Seek To Detect Smaller Near-Earth Asteroids

Quote
The ability of the Sentinel space telescope to detect up to 80 percent of potentially hazardous near-Earth objects at least 40 meters in diameter is possible if it works in parallel with a ground-based telescope, the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST), now under construction, said mission director Harold Reitsema,.

- See more at: http://spacenews.com/space-telescope-concepts-seek-to-detect-smaller-near-earth-asteroids/#sthash.0ftgvYum.dpuf

Well, yeah, and if my grandmother had wheels she'd be a wagon...

How long ago did B612 propose Sentinel? And how much money have they raised toward building it? And are the original cost estimates given to them by the contractor valid anymore considering that they are now old?

I don't think that people take them seriously anymore. They might have been better off if they had started smaller, like an asteroid-spotting CubeSat, and gotten some traction with that. But they ran out of the gate with a half-billion-dollar-plus spacecraft and have not met any milestones. I'm entirely sympathetic to their cause, but what matters is results.

Disclaimer- I would most likely be working on the Sentinel spacecraft if it were actually funded with real dollars instead of imaginary money....

Speaking only for myself, I don't find that B612 has any credibility at all as a funding source and doubt the money will ever appear.  That's sad, as I'd really like to be seeing that mission move forwards...

Offline jimvela

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Hey, guys: *not everything is cheaper from orbit*.  In fact, usually, if you can do it from the ground, it's cheaper on the ground.  Save the orbit stuff for places it really helps.

A friend of mine is PI on the ATLAS project, which is bringing up ground based telescopes to give early warning of smaller nearby asteroids that may hit us (think 1 day to 1 week warning).  If the first two telescopes succeed, there will probably be others elsewhere in the world.

See http://fallingstar.com/home.php


Guess what else?  The most recent well known near-miss, the chelyabinsk meteor- came at us from the direction of the sun, and was completely undetectable by ground based assets that everyone likes to hype as the solution.

I'm actually really supportive of doing as much ground-based cataloging and discovery as possible, but to do planetary protection right you also need some orbital assets.

In defense of the B612 group- I recently sat through a presentation given by the awesome Rusty Schweickart that focused on the politics of planetary defense, which turns out to be overwhelmingly the most difficult problem to solve in the grand scheme of things.

Everyone interested in planetary defense should look up what Rusty's been saying on the topic of late...

Offline jg

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Hey, guys: *not everything is cheaper from orbit*.  In fact, usually, if you can do it from the ground, it's cheaper on the ground.  Save the orbit stuff for places it really helps.

A friend of mine is PI on the ATLAS project, which is bringing up ground based telescopes to give early warning of smaller nearby asteroids that may hit us (think 1 day to 1 week warning).  If the first two telescopes succeed, there will probably be others elsewhere in the world.

See http://fallingstar.com/home.php


Guess what else?  The most recent well known near-miss, the chelyabinsk meteor- came at us from the direction of the sun, and was completely undetectable by ground based assets that everyone likes to hype as the solution.

I'm actually really supportive of doing as much ground-based cataloging and discovery as possible, but to do planetary protection right you also need some orbital assets.

In defense of the B612 group- I recently sat through a presentation given by the awesome Rusty Schweickart that focused on the politics of planetary defense, which turns out to be overwhelmingly the most difficult problem to solve in the grand scheme of things.

Everyone interested in planetary defense should look up what Rusty's been saying on the topic of late...

Ground based can/will/is getting the statistics of how numerous/big the asteroids are, and can help with warning.  Such a system can give short term warning over most (but not all) of the sky, allowing any eventual orbital system to concentrate on the "blind spots" toward the sun.  Wider geographic coverage of ATLAS would help, but not eliminate the blind spot. See: http://fallingstar.com/how_atlas_works.php

It also turns out that the data rate generated by a telescope optimized toward detection is actually quite high; I suspect down linking the data will become a lot easier/cheaper within a few years with laser based data links.

We'll know a lot better over the next few years how dangerous the situation may be.  The big problem is we haven't had a good grasp on the size distribution of these objects.  ATLAS will help a lot on the small object end to determine the size distribution and therefore probabilities of a collision.

One of the interesting surprises when I spent some time with John Tonry is that objects colliding with Earth come in from pretty random directions (by the time the Earth/moon system gravity has finished with them). I had expected a stronger correlation with the plane of the ecliptic.  But the distribution will be much, much more random than that.  It was fun to see the simulation running.

And yes, Chelyabinsk was coming out of the sun and could not have been detected from the ground.  An incoming object of that size from other directions would be detected.

Here's what John Tonry said given the question "Would Atlas have warned Chelyabinsk?"
via email:

Quote
Yes and no.  Chelyabinsk, no.  It came out of the Sun, and nobody
could have seen it in time.  A Chelyabinsk clone coming from the other
direction, yes.

There's a volume of space inside of which an asteroid of a given size
is detectable that depends strongly on the angle from illumination
effects as well as the 1/r^2 size effect.  It looks just like a candle
flame, blown away from the Sun.  Picture attached for 30m size, bigger
than Chelyabinsk.

For Chelyabinsk the side-to-side size of the candle flame (along the
Earth's orbit) is roughly the distance to the moon, and the distance
coming in from the anti-Sun direction (i.e. full-moon type
illumination) is about 10 lunar distances.  Inasmuch as yer typical
asteroid covers about 2 lunar distances per day that tells you what
the warning time is.

Chelayabinsk came in along the wick and there was no warning time at
all.

The figure John provided in the mail is attached.

Coming out of the sun has two effects: both that you may not be able to see
it in dark skies, but also that much less of the asteroid is illuminated by the sun
as seen from the earth, making it much fainter approaching from other angles.

Note that had the Chelyabinsk object come in more vertically, and therefore the
explosion occurred a lot closer to the ground pointed toward the ground,
it would have done far more damage than it did.  We were lucky, this time.

Probably the most cost effective planetary warning system, if humanity wanted to do it right,
would be a combination of a ground based warning system of order what John is
setting up with ATLAS, combined with some space assets concentrated on the area
of the sky that is inaccessible from the ground.  And those telescopes should probably not
be in NEO, because of the illumination effects making rocks coming in from the sun.

But ATLAS is at least a start; it can provide warning over much of the sky for most of the
incoming objects, and let us know much better how common dangerous objects are.

John hopes the first ATLAS telescope will be installed within about a month; with luck, by the end of this year
they will have shaken it down enough to start adding a flood of data into the asteroid database.
The "pathfinder" telescope with detector (a small 18cm scope with an 8 megapixel CCD) has allowed them to shake a lot of the software down (and start finding some asteroids along the way). I had a chance to go see it on Mauna Loa last December.

The full blown telescopes are 50cm scopes with 100 megapixel CCD's.  The camera for that CCD is truly mind-bloggling to see: the size of that CCD chip is truly immense. See the picture in: http://fallingstar.com/ua20150330.php

So yes, a real planetary warning system, if humanity builds one, will need space based assets in addition to
ground based ones.


Offline ChrisC

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Any idea what the units are on that graph?  From reading his commentary, it seems to be neither Earth radii nor lunar distances.
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Offline jg

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Any idea what the units are on that graph?  From reading his commentary, it seems to be neither Earth radii nor lunar distances.

Good question.  I'll ask John.

Atlas was funded *before* Chelyabinsk, btw, as was PAN-STARRS, both of which are getting us much better ideas of the actual risks.  IIRC, from talking to John, PAN-STARRS should be able to find a high fraction of "civilization killer" size objects, with enough orbital information and time to let us do something about them.

The problem of the small objects is you don't get enough warning to do much of anything about them, except to get people out of the way of them.  And often trying to move them quickly will just make the situation worse: Hollywood has not done us a service showing missions that try to do something at the "last minute".

In general, Chelyabinsk seems to have been a particularly unusual asteroid, statistically.  It came in directly from the sun, and did a very grazing encounter (sparing us most of the damage).

I'm sure people are using Chelyabinsk as a (good) argument that doing a more capable system is worthwhile. 

Whether governments will listen, since we were spared really serious damage, is less clear.  It may take a more dramatic encounter to really drive the problem home, unfortunately.  Human's perception/reaction to risk, particularly of events that are rare, is not good.

Offline jg

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Any idea what the units are on that graph?  From reading his commentary, it seems to be neither Earth radii nor lunar distances.

John says the graph is in lunar distances (4e5km).

Offline ChrisWilson68

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NASA announced that they've terminated their Space Act Agreement with the B612 foundation because "the group has missed its technical deadlines and raised only $1.6 million in 2013, the most recent year for which figures are available. The foundation needs roughly $30-40 million annually to keep Sentinel on track."

http://www.nature.com/news/nasa-drops-partnership-with-private-asteroid-hunt-1.18462

Offline Prober

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NASA announced that they've terminated their Space Act Agreement with the B612 foundation because "the group has missed its technical deadlines and raised only $1.6 million in 2013, the most recent year for which figures are available. The foundation needs roughly $30-40 million annually to keep Sentinel on track."

http://www.nature.com/news/nasa-drops-partnership-with-private-asteroid-hunt-1.18462

another Golden Spike to add to the list  ;D
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Offline Star One

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Asteroid experts plan privately funded Sentinel Space Telescope
« Reply #99 on: 06/13/2017 08:44 PM »
Press Release: B612 Creates Asteroid Institute

June 13, 2017

New scientific and technical Institute to collaborate with major universities and research centers worldwide to protect the world from asteroid impacts

SILICON VALLEY, CA  — The B612 Foundation today announced the formation of a new science and technology institute dedicated to protecting Earth from asteroid impacts. Dr. Ed Lu, three time US astronaut and Co-founder of B612, will serve as Executive Director of the new B612 Asteroid Institute, collaborating with a team of planetary scientists and engineers from around the world to conduct research, technology development, and data analysis on asteroid detection and deflection.

Since its founding in 2002, B612 has served as a primary catalyst in furthering the field of planetary defense. The organization has a long history of funding research on asteroid detection and deflection with major institutions, including Southwest Research Institute (SwRI), Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and California Institute of Technology (Caltech). The organization is now expanding and consolidating all research and analysis under the B612 Asteroid Institute.

The B612 Asteroid Institute will be a virtual organization with a particularly close new working collaboration with Data Intensive Research in Astrophysics and Cosmology Center (DIRAC) at the Department of Astronomy of the University of Washington, whose scientists are at the forefront of the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST)Project. For the next three years, B612 has funded two post-doctoral researchers at DIRAC, specifically dedicated to planetary defense research.

“Humankind must solve this problem of asteroid impacts, and through science and technology we can make this happen,” said Dr. Lu. “We look forward to working closely with DIRAC and LSST principals, as well as other scientists around the world, to better understand how we will protect the Earth from asteroid impacts.”

“The science of the next decade will be driven by data,” stated Andrew Connolly, Director of the DIRAC Institute. “With a new generation of telescopes and surveys coming online over the next decade, providing the most detailed census of our universe ever undertaken, we have an unparalleled opportunity for new and fundamental discoveries about our Solar System. We look forward to partnering with the Asteroid Institute to develop novel techniques and methodologies to search for and characterize the populations of asteroids within these massive data streams.”

The B612 Asteroid Institute scientists and students will focus on applying the results from the ever-widening field of asteroid and comet research to the specific issues of how to protect our planet from the impact threat.” said Dr. Clark Chapman, Planetary Scientist (retired), Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) .

B612 will be the umbrella organization for the Asteroid Institute, while continuing its work in the areas of public education and advocacy to mobilize the world’s resources to protect the Earth from asteroid impacts. Danica Remy, who has served as  B612’s Chief Operating Office for the last five years, will assume the role of President.

Going forward, all of B612’s scientific and technological projects will be conducted through the Institute, including the B612 Asteroid Decision Analysis Machine (ADAM); research into synthetic tracking to improve the capability to discover asteroids smaller than 100 meters; and planning for a future small satellite constellation for detecting and tracking these smaller asteroids.

ADAM answers the call to action by the NASA Small Bodies Assessment Group which “supports the systematic examination of the potentially hazardous population to identifying cases that need extra attention early for a successful deflection campaign, should one become necessary.”

For further information on B612 and the B612 ASTEROID INSTITUTE, visit: B612Foundation.org and join the discussion on Facebook and Twitter.

Media contact: Diane Murphy, B612 CapCom: diane@b612foundation.org
« Last Edit: 06/13/2017 08:46 PM by Star One »

Offline Star One

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Asteroid experts plan privately funded Sentinel Space Telescope
« Reply #100 on: 06/21/2017 04:41 PM »
B612 studying smallsat missions to search for near Earth objects

Quote
In a June 19 interview, Ed Lu, the co-founder of B612, said the foundation is focusing instead on smaller, but more numerous, NEOs. “The real gap is the 100 times as many asteroids smaller than 140 meters but still large enough to destroy things on the ground,” he said. The lower end of that size range, he said, is roughly 20 to 40 meters in diameter, with an estimated population of several million asteroids.

B612 is studying a technology called “synthetic tracking” to more effectively detect small asteroids. That approach, he said, uses high-speed graphics processing to compensate for the motion of asteroids in long exposures, allowing smaller telescopes to detect these objects.

“We’ve had quite a bit of success testing this technology already on the ground,” he said. “We are looking towards building an Earth orbit demonstrator of the technology.”

Ultimately, Lu said he envisions a constellation of likely 5 to 10 satellites, each carrying a telescope with an aperture of 15 centimeters. “They’re not cubesats, but they’re not much larger,” he said.

Lu said the foundation would provide more details about its small satellite plans later this year, including a schedule for flying the first demonstration spacecraft. “The timescale is quite short,” he said.

- See more at: http://spacenews.com/b612-studying-smallsat-missions-to-search-for-near-earth-objects/#sthash.PKf7dsaj.dpuf
« Last Edit: 06/21/2017 04:43 PM by Star One »

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