SGAC Completes a Successful NEO Outreach Event & Week at the Planetary Defense Conference

18 May, 2011

Two astronauts, a space agency head, and a world expert on Near Earth Objects highlight SGAC’s public outreach event for over 130 participants in Bucharest, Romania.

SGAC Completes a Successful NEO Outreach Event & Week at the Planetary Defense Conference

18 May, 2011

Apollo 9 astronaut, Rusty Schweickart,
addresses the audience
L to R: Bill Ailor, Marius-Ioan Piso, Dumitru Prunariu,
Rusty Schweickart, & Andy Bacon
SGAC leadership, speakers, & event partners
pose after the event

From May 8 to May 13, SGAC’s Near Earth Object (NEO) Working Group was busy in Bucharest, Romania actively participating in the International Academy of Astronautics’ (IAA) Planetary Defense Conference.  The group started the week by hosting SGAC’s “Future of Planetary Defense” public outreach event at the Polytechnic University of Bucharest on Sunday, May 8.  The event’s featured speakers included:

  • Bill Ailor, Director, Center for Orbital and Reentry Debris Studies at the Aerospace Corporation
  • Marius-Ioan Piso, Director General of the Romanian Space Agency (ROSA)
  • Rusty Schweickart, Apollo 9 Astronaut , Co-Founder of the Association of Space Explorers (ASE), and Chairman of the B612 Foundation
  • Dumitru Prunariu, Soyuz 40 cosmonaut, Chairman of the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, and SGAC Advisory Board Member

The event featured speeches on NEOs and what is being done both in terms of scientific research and international policy to respond to their threats.  A highlight of the afternoon was the 30-minute film on NEOs produced by the NEO Working Group – “Near Earth Objects and Planetary Defense: A Film about Defending the Earth.”  The film was lauded by Apollo 9 astronaut, Rusty Schweickart, as being one of the most accurate films out today on Near Earth Objects.

For the remainder of the week, SGAC’s NEO Working Group actively participated in the IAA’s Planetary Defense Conference.  This is the fourth edition of the international meeting, the first held in 2004 in Los Angeles and the last in 2009 in Granada, Spain. A high point of the week was when NEO Working Group’s Co-Lead, Andrew Bacon (United Kingdom), was asked to be a featured expert on a one-hour live news programme on NEOs on Romanian television.

“This was a tremendously successful week for the NEO Working Group,” said SGAC NEO Working Group Co-Lead, Alex Karl (Germany).  “The ‘Future of Planetary Defense’ event is one that we had been envisioning since Granada, and it was great to see the team and our esteemed speakers come together to make it happen.  In particular, we were happy to see how many university students and young professionals came out to learn more about NEOs.”

Event Attendance and Media

The event was attended by more than 130 people from around Bucharest and was covered by multiple Romanian national media outlets.

For national television coverage of SGAC’s event from PRO TV, Romania’s top news channel, please click here.

For national print coverage from media sponsor and Romania’s top scientific magazine, Stiinta & Tehnica, please click here.

For the full one hour programme, “Crime Time” from Pro TV on NEOs, please click here.

For the SGAC NEO Working Group’s documentary on NEOs, please click here.

More About SGAC’s NEO Working Group

The Near Earth Object Working Group is dedicated to helping the worldwide planetary defense community to meet one of nature's greatest challenges. The group provides a youth perspective to planetary defense through annual reports, competitions, conference attendance, and public outreach projects related to Near Earth Objects.

Using the SGAC's status as a member of Action Team 14 within UN COPUOS, the Group assists in the international efforts to bringing about a UN framework for addressing NEOs. Additionally, Apollo astronaut Rusty Schweickart is supporting us explore potential opportunities to work together with the Association of Space Explorers.

The Working Group also sponsors the annual Move an Asteroid technical paper competition.  The grand prize is a trip to Cape Town, South Africa to present the paper at SGAC's Space Generation Congress and the International Astronautical Congress.  For more information on the competition, please click here.  The deadline for submissions is 1 July, 2011.

Event Support

SGAC’s “Future of Planetary Defense” event was kindly supported by:

SGAC would like to thank the international team that supported the production of the “Future of Planetary Defense” event, including: Alex Karl (Germany), Andrew Bacon (United Kingdom), Tejal Thakore (India), Iulia Jivanescu (Romania), Paun Dragos Alexandru (Romania), Oana Sandu (Romania), A.C. Charania (USA), Ariane Cornell (France/USA) and Horatiu Goanta (Romania) and his local Romanian Euroavia team.




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