Broken Hill name on space trip to asteroid

Finally, a little piece of Outback Astronomy is going into space!

This is a great thing since we are in the business of astronomy. This represents a small, but true connection with our main product, the sky!

The Planetary Society puts names of its membership on space missions.

This one in the OSIRIS-REx mission, and it’s the first US mission to fetch samples from an asteroid and return them to Earth. http://www.asteroidmission.org/why-bennu/

Outback Astronomy is located in the mining community of Broken Hill, NSW, Australia. There could be nothing more appropriate. Asteroid mining will be among the big careers that will occupy our younger generations in future decades.

Not that this mission is driven by this context. Read more about the fascinating mission and its objectives at http://www.asteroidmission.org/mission/.

Understanding the hazards of asteroids is amongst some of the rationale, so that NASA can develop some “impact mitigation” plans.

The Planetary Society says that names travelling into space will “hitch a ride to the asteroid, spend 500 days there, and return in the Sample Return Capsule to Earth in 2023”.

Outback Astronomy is up for this! The Planetary Society is also inviting your participation - http://www.planetary.org/get-involved/messages/bennu/. You have until 30 September 2014 to sign up. You will receive notifications on where your name is from the launch in 2016 until return to Earth in 2023.

Photo Credit: NASA/JPL/JHUAPL – Eros in February, 2000. The first image of an asteroid taken from an orbiting spacecraft. The large crater seen is about 6km across.