What's in a name? That could be up to you in the case of Asteroid 1992 KD. But you have to act fast there is less than one week left to enter the Planetary Society's Name the Asteroid Contest, which ends June 15, 1999.
Asteroid 1992 KD is a target for Deep Space 1, a mission designed to test cuttingedge technologies. The spacecraft will fly by the asteroid on July 28, 1999, traveling closer to its surface than a jet flies above the Earth when it is at cruising altitude.
Deep Space 1 will take images of the asteroid and will measure its basic physical properties, including mineral composition, size, shape, surface features, and brightness.
A key technology being tested on Deep Space 1 is its ion propulsion system. This type of engine is 10 times more efficient than a conventional liquid or solid fuel rocket. Deep Space 1 is the first planetary probe to use this advanced type of propulsion system.
During Eleanor Helin's longrunning Palomar PlanetCrossing Asteroid Survey, she and Ken Lawrence discovered 1992 KD on May 27, 1992 at Palomar Observatory. NASA JPL funded the Palomar PlanetCrossing Asteroid Survey. An asteroid's discoverers traditionally have the right to name it, and they have asked the Planetary Society to solicit suggestions through this contest. The winning suggestion will be submitted by the discoverers to the International Astronomical Union Small Bodies Naming Committee, which has official approval over the naming of asteroids.
Helin said, "It is exciting to visit and examine one of our discoveries from seven years ago. What seemed so remote then will now become almost a handson experience. This will be the first close look at a nearearth object, and from it a clearer picture of one nearearth asteroid will emerge."
Since the Deep Space 1 mission is designed to test technology, the theme for names is INVENTORS, living or deceased. Each suggestion for a name should be accompanied by a short explanation (50 words or less) of why the name is appropriate. Also include your name and address.
The contest winner will receive a $50 gift certificate for the Planetary Society Store.
Entries may be submitted by mail, fax or email. Log into the Society's web site at http://planetary.org for additional information. Entries must be RECEIVED by June 15, 1999.
Asteroid 1992 KD Contest
The Planetary Society
65 North Catalina Avenue
Pasadena, CA 91106
Fax: (626) 793-5528 (Att: Linda Wong)
Please contact Susan Lendroth for additional information at (626)7935100 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Carl Sagan, Bruce Murray and Louis Friedman founded the Society in 1979 to advance the exploration of the solar system and to continue the search for extraterrestrial life. With 100,000 members in over 140 countries, the Society is the largest space interest group in the world.
The above story is based on materials provided by The Planetary Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.
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