We also know Bennu is B-type asteroid with a ~500 meter diameter. It completes an orbit around the Sun every 436.604 days (1.2 years) and every 6 years comes very close to Earth, within 0.002 AU.*
According to NASA, Bennu is referred to as one of closest asteroids to Earth which is called Near-Earth Objects (NEOs).
What’s really interesting, Bennu has a high probability of impacting Earth in approximately the year 2173. It’s not clear if NASA scientists will prevent a collision from happening, but they will have the opportunity to learn more about the asteroid, when OSIRIS-REx returns in 7 years.
150 years is a long time to worry about just one asteroid, but it’s hazardous orbit towards Earth is concerning, nevertheless.
Maybe by then, NASA scientists will come up with a solution to avoid certain disaster on Earth. As quote by NASA, “Bennu’s size, primitive composition, and potentially hazardous orbit make it one of the most fascinating and accessible NEOs … and the ideal OSIRIS-REx target asteroid.”
By then, I’m figuring we should have a small colony on Mars, which might mean the difference between life or death, for all of mankind. Mars may so happen to become the savour of the whole human race.
It’s imperative we get the human race into space soon !
Time to start thinking of other planets to colonize before it’s too late, like our ancestors.
Stephen Hawking warned: Flee Earth before it’s too late in his speech earlier this year saying,” I believe that the long-term future of the human race must be in space. … It will be difficult enough to avoid disaster on planet earth in the next hundred years, let alone in the next thousand or million,” Hawking told digital forum the Big Think. “The human race shouldn’t have all its eggs in one basket, or on one planet. Let’s hope we can avoid dropping the basket until we have spread the load.”
It’s remarkable to understand NASA has spent billions to understand more about this asteroid and possible information on the origin of life. To read between the lines, it’s clear scientists are very concerned.
As stated in the Asteroid Mission OSIRIS-REx’s key science main objectives include:
Return and analyze a sample of Bennu’s surface
Map the asteroid (cool to see Canadian scientists were involved with this technology)
Document the sample site
Measure the orbit deviation caused by non-gravitational forces (the Yarkovsky effect)
Compare observations at the asteroid to ground-based observations.
In 2018, OSIRIS-REx will approach Bennu and take the necessary samples and return return back to Earth on September 2023, giving us 150 years to decided what we’ll do in the year 2173.
This asteroid is just one of many, assigned with a close trajectory towards Earth, or referred to as Near-Earth Objects (NEOs). In fact, NASA is calling on all amateur astronomers to help in the search of impending asteroids.
I realize our generation or the next five generations will most likely NOT be around to see the outcome, but it’s a stern reminder to get off our butts and put everything we have into the Space Program, before we become a statistic, like the dinosaurs.
Bennu Asteriod – Will it impact Earth? Well, we have 150 years to find out 😱
P.S. Read more about the trajectory of Bennu and how one of the most primitive asteroid (enriched with carbon) will give us a look into the past of our solar system.
DON’T FORGET : As it’s an amazing accomplishment by NASA scientists, we must not forget …” Bennu is also one of the most potentially hazardous asteroids, as it has a relatively high probability of impacting the Earth late in the 22nd century.”
When you think of famous scientists, you immediately think of Albert Einstein or Stephen Hawking. Why do we do that? Why do we automatically think of famous men before women?
Aren’t women equally qualified ?
Did you know, women behind-the-scenes of STEAM ( the acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics) are rarely discovered, simply because they don’t think of themselves as the conventional ‘heroes’ of science. Or could it be possible women are overruled in a political male dominant arena?
Do you know any women behind-the-scenes in the Space Program?
Unless you personally worked with one, they are hardly noticed. Whatever the case, female scientists, space engineers, chemists and inventors across the world seem to fall through the cracks, leaving their achievements unannounced.
How’s that possible, you may ask ? Let’s take a quick history lesson.
Do you know the woman who wrote a paper on reversed aging ?
Either did I.
In the 1950’s scientist Wanda Ruth Lunsford claimed she reversed aging. Unfortunately it was the only scientific paper she ever wrote because the dominant male scientific community didn’t believe her. They even publicly shamed her by calling her Dracula and Frankenstein. Wanda’s claim to reversed aging was apparently to much for the male ego at the time.
Wanda Lunsford is a very small example of a female scientist, who was never recognized for her “genius” status. A friend of mine would quote this as,”…It’s a testosterone thing, I think.” In fact, throughout the centuries, undetected by time, there are thousands of unsuspected women, who have shaped the lifestyle, you most commonly take for granted today.
So today, let’s make this assumption fade away into our past, and begin recognizing the intriguing intelligence of a woman. After all, it’s the women behind-the-scenes, who have helped make important decisions for past Presidents of the United States. And, to make it easier for you, I just so happen to know of one remarkable woman who’s hiding in plain sight right now.
Roberta “Robyn” Villavecchia, former NASA – National Aeronautics and Space Administration engineer and formation aviation pilot. This rocket chemist is sure to get you to the moon and back.
Robyn’s mission was to help develop the engines, a crucial part to get the astronauts to the moon and bring them home safely. By her own words,”…I was with NASA at the height of the Moon Program from Apollo 1 through Apollo 12, where we were developing the engines for the lunar landers…”
A behind-the-scenes chemist helping NASA shape our future in the space program. As said by DJI,”…at the height of the Moon program, Robyn was developing fuel for rockets. Since then, this pioneering rocket scientist has never stopped pursuing her love of flying.” Today, Robyn is retired, but that doesn’t mean she’s RETIRED. It’s common place to find her tinkering and flying the DJI Phantom series.
“When your young, nothing seems impossible to you…,” Robyn claims.
Robyn is first to tell you, women are an important part within NASA and the technology mainstream, and never should gender be a deterring factor. In fact, women should be considered as equals to men, providing generations of incredible scientists. So, it’s more important then ever for younger women of today, to give it all they got with STEAM, and begin the exciting journey with NASA or other scientific adventures.
This week, I had the privileged to talk to Robyn. Here’s our conversation:
ME : What would you say to encourage girls to pursue a career in the STEM ( Science, Technology, Engineers and Mathematics) field?
ROBYN : Encouraging girls and young women to pursue a career in STEM (and I must change that somewhat to STEAM, for Art is an integral part of the answer) is much easier today than in the past because the image of the “homemaker/housewife” has largely gone the way of the Dodo.
ME : I’m enjoying the analogy, “…the image of the “homemaker/housewife” has largely gone the way of the Dodo.” So true! LOL. Please continue…
ROBYN: Men, I believe, tend to attack a problem exactly that way…attack, throw muscle or dollars or blunt force of numbers to solve a problem. It is a testosterone thing, I think. On the other hand, women tend to solve problems by finding much more elegant solutions. Rather than the bull in the china shop approach, they innately seek a solution based on finesse. Just my opinion of course. Fortunately, our more enlightened educators and human resource people are beginning to realize this.
ME: So, what you are saying, women add a touch of finesse and should be encouraged into the field of STEAM, to even out the testosterone. Would that be a fair statement ?
ROBYN: Yes, definitely. Women generally contribute a alternate way of thinking about a problem or an issue. They can often mitigate the thinking in such a way as to make the proposed solution, shall we say, more elegant…more refined.
ME: Do you think privatization of the space program is the key to success?
ROBYN: For some reason, most folks suffer under a misguided opinion that NASA was the only entity involved in Project Apollo. I must emphasize that all NASA programs have been and always will be a partnership between industry and the government. I give you this: Though I was intimately involved in our going to the moon, I never received a dime of pay from the Federal Government. It worked this way. We were a contractor personnel with the knowledge working under the watchful eye of NASA’s quality control people. We used to laugh that the job stayed the same, the only change was the color and logo on our paycheques!
ME : Do you think NASA should have continued on with the moon project ?
ROBYN : To this day, that is a “hot button” issue with me. Everyone is familiar with Launch Complex 39. LC-39A and B are still with us. But did you know we were already moving dirt in the construction of LC-39C and D? LC-39C was designed to be the launch site of Apollo Applications Program, the follow of the moon landings. And, hang on to you pen Bari, because LC-39D was to be the launch pad for the manned Mars landing program, and we were well on the way to proving the engines for the missions. You might want to look up “Nerva“. Being a propulsion chemist/engineer, that was pretty damned close to my heart.
ME: Were you part of the NERVA (Nuclear Engine for Rocket Vehicle Application) Program ?
ROBYN : No. I was not a part of the NERVA Program, though I was aware of it and followed it’s progress. I was a Hypergolic Propellant chemist. Fancy name for chemicals that go boom and spit fire on contact. I did “bench chemistry” analysis on the density, viscosity and purity on a day to day basis using test tubes, pipettes and the like. Gus Grissom once introduced me to a group of touring suits, as “Old Fearless” 😊
ME: It’s amazing to hear the LC-39D was meant to be the launch pad for the manned Mars landing program, way back in 1963. To think about it, a manned Mars Landing Program, over 53 years ago. Wow!
ROBYN : I did say,”hang on to your pen Bari.”
ME: You did too. Did you enjoy your work?
ROBYN: It was fun. Lots of challenges, and lots of rewards. The really sad thing is that no one has ever told the story of so many who were in the trenches. Pipe fitters, carpenters, steel workers, women sitting for hours at a time staring through microscopes counting and sizing foreign particles in the gasses and liquids used in the vehicle.
ME: The Apollo missions were scraped by the stroke of a pen. That must of made your blood boil. I know I was extremely disappointed.
ROBYN: Makes it boil to this day. Nixon destroyed our “better angels”. With the stroke of the Presidential Pen, Nixon scrapped the last three Apollo missions, all of Apollo Applications and the Mars Program. Seems he need the money freed up to bomb the crap (pardon the language) out of the North Vietnamese…and I thing we can all agree on the idiocy of that particular decision. Remember what I said about the testosterone method of problem solving?
ME: Had things been different, would we have a colony of families on the moon by now?
ROBYN: I don’t think so. There would be no, or very little, financial incentive to do so. Maybe if a hoard of diamonds had be found perhaps. But certainly manned cadres of scientists, much like today’s ISS would probably be contributing to our store of knowledge and that, Bari, is priceless. However Bari, hang onto your hat ! It was rumoured the military had a keen interest in establishing a base on the moon. For some unknown reason it came to an immediate halt. Was it Nixon or something top secret ? I guess we’ll never know.
ME: You were telling me you witness the Saturn V launch ?
ROBYN: I lived on a canal off of Sykes Creek in Merritt Island. No one knew what to expect when the first Saturn V was launched. Our folks were moved from the Lab back to the area of the VAB. After the launch when I got back to the lab, my phone was ringing off the hook. It was my sister, living with us at the time. Sounding panicky she almost shouted, “What blew up?” I told her nothing, why? She then told me all the windows in the house facing the launch area were broken. The sound waves were that violent and strong.
ME: That would have been awesome to see. What’s most frustrating in the Space Program today ?
ROBYN: What do I personally see as the most frustrating, and I might add, tragic things I see today regarding NASA ? In a nutshell year by year funding. Without multi year and multi administration funding, there can be no long term planning, no long term funding and no setting of long term goals. Without these, the dreamers will still be dreaming, but the dreams will never come to fruition.
ME: So true. Thank you Robyn for spending time with me answering some hard questions about the Apollo Program, the direction of the Space Program and most importantly women of tomorrow reaching for space.
I had a great time talking to Robyn and curious if NASA’s future will truly hold the key to mankind’s destiny. Robyn is indeed a women behind-the-scenes during the NASA Apollo missions, but I must add, one of the most valuable persons. Without a chemist, you wouldn’t have rocket science. Take a minute to hear Robyn for yourself, on DJI showcasing her remarkable achievements. Our friend, Robyn, who’s much loved by all.
In short, it actually is rocket science and Robyn ROCKS!
In my books Robyn is a HERO for her achievements as a pioneering chemist with the space program. Never under estimate the will power and intelligence of a woman.
Bravo Robyn – To the Moon and back!
As a grandfather of three grandchildren, with two granddaughters, I foresee a bright future for all of them, possibly in space exploration. Fortunately, NASA’s latest astronaut class has finally reached the 50 percent mark for female astronauts.
I’m reaching 60 and it really is my hope and dreams a manned Mars Landing Program becomes a reality before I die. As a kid I always dreamed of space exploration, flying around our solar system in my well constructed spaceship made out of cardboard.
Going to school, reality set in. I just wasn’t smart enough for NASA.
But I realized my imagination and storytelling turned out to be my real asset. I’m part of STEAM after all, the Arts of science-fiction.
In final summary, I would like to say,” Oh please, lets get back to the Moon and begin exploring Mars.” With over seven billion people on earth using up our resources at a staggering rate, we just might run out of time. It’s about time we take the leap and adventure forward, before mankind becomes a statistic. And while we are at it, let’s make sure we recognized all the women in the space program, including women sitting for hours at a time staring through microscopes counting and sizing foreign particles in the gasses and liquids used in space vehicles.
It was a real pleasure Robyn, aka “Old Fearless” Thank you!
I just came back from watching the movie, “The Martian” and I have to say, it’s a remarkable success. Well done Ridley Scott! Again !
Matt Damon (Character: Botanist Mark Watney) does another stellar performance. Each day was recorded as “Sol 405” . Sol refers to a solar day on Mars, therefore 405 would relate to the amount of days on Mars, which is a lot more on earth.
The storyline takes you through a whirlwind of emotions, with stunning landscapes* of Mars and your hope for Mark Watney’s survival.
Watching the movie, I couldn’t help think of what it would be like, to actually be on Mars. Tears would well up, with the sudden realization (at my age) I would never be able to see Mars. But that never stops my wild imagination, displaying a colourful event, where I’m sick of all the wasted time with politics, and decided to do something on my own.
I calculate my trajectory using the aid of basic physics, leaving earth’s gravitational pull and setting course for Mars, in my ultralight spacecraft.
In reality, it’s pretty much far fetched, right?
Well, that never stops me from writing about the possibilities and planning a screenplay, fit for any movie production.
First of all, I must put each problem in a category and solve that particular problem. Therefore, I will follow NASA by their use of acronyms. MC 1 will refer to as ” Mars Category 1″ while “SOLO-M 20” will be referred to as the example, “Soul on Mars – Day 20”.
MC 1 : Make a Ultralight Spacecraft.
Make a viable ultralight spacecraft small enough to house one human being, with ample oxygen, freeze-dried food provisions and relative comforts of home, including some form of gravity, for the long journey ahead. Also, it’s important I leave when Earth’s orbit coincides with Mars. That’s every two years. Building my spacecraft will require ingenuity and patients.
It’s amazing what duct tape can do !
I’m kidding. If you saw “The Martian” you’ll know exactly what I’m referring to. As a past experienced architectural draft person, I can easily design my spacecraft to the right dimensions, with the required materials to make it super light.
The engine part.
Well…not so much. Any help by a rocket engineer would indeed be extremely helpful, making a suitable engine without rocket fuel. Try that.
MC 2 : Escaping Earth’s Gravity.
Preferably without your spacecraft breaking up into millions of pieces. With conventional fossil fuels, you must reach a velocity of 40,270 km/h (25,020 mph) in order to break free from earth’s gravity.
This is basically out of the question.
First and foremost, it’s impossible to obtain rocket fuel and trying to do so, would alert authorities. Oh, BTW (by the way) your mission is a surprise to the world, making you a hero to the rest of the humanity, if you succeed. Besides, if authorities caught wind of your intentions, they would send you off to the loonie bin.
(Even though we Canadians use the loonie for currency, it doesn’t mean we’re a Loonie bunch of Canucks).
Moving on. So, what can one do ?
Invent anti-gravity is one solution, or use the oldest form of lift. How many times have you seen an air balloon on a clear morning, floating in fashion across the horizon? I know…I know what your thinking, ” That’s just plain crazy! The balloon idea will pop with your ship falling precariously back to earth.”
But, what if…
At the very moment the balloon bursts in the stratosphere, you ignite with a small portion of fuel, lighting up, propelling your spacecraft into the earth’s orbit . You won’t need very much thrust or fuel to achieve this. Or, how about the Red Bull accomplishment? Mission to the Edge of Space and Supersonic freefall was a success.
It’s feasible, right?
If a Canadian student can send a “Lego Man” into our stratosphere, anything is possible.
Well, that’s my theory.
OK. Getting into orbit is a viable theory for this Loonie Canuck. What’s that you say ? I’m what? OK. I can hear you laughing your head off.
Wait, Here me out.
If anything, it will make an excellent storyline, a script with danger, adventure, a dash of comedy, and a lead character you are emotionally attached to. Kind of sounds like my screenplay, BLACK ANGELS.
Let’s continue on with my theory.
MC 3 : Escaping Earth’s Orbit.
Escaping the trajectory of earth will be my next problem, and actually, this equation is relatively an easy one. Like any satellite, it’s circular path must change to meet the opening orbit path of earth circling our Sun. You can wave “hello” to ISS, as you pass by.
Check out physics HERE, (Seriously, NASA solves everything).
MC 4 : Heading to Mars
Now, theoretically your spacecraft has escaped earth’s gravity, nicely placed around earth’s orbit. Awesome! You manage to project your little spacecraft into the outer earth’s orbit.
ALL SYSTEMS GO – Right?
Not so fast. Now you must fly over to the orbit of Mars. This in physics, is called the Hohmann Transfer Ellipse (or transfer orbit). We assume you have the right kind of fuel or magnetic force to preform the Hohmann Transfer Ellipse, breaking free along the weakest point of earth’s orbit, towards Mars orbit. Now, be sure to wave, “Good-bye”, to ISS. Now NASA and the rest of the world is aware of your intentions. Communication may be possible with ISS for short term, but one thing for sure. YOU will be famous and all over the news. Make sure you’re flying a Canadian Flag.
MC 5 : Journey to Mars
Here’s where it’s crucial you have enough oxygen, food, water, heat to avoid the extreme -200 C temperatures, a well constructed light engine, and a safe spacecraft to propel you 6-8 months across our solar system. Including solar panels and rechargeable lithium ion batteries which have the capability to store energy for use at night, once on Mars.
MC 6 : Entry onto Mars
Making it to Mars will certainly be an accomplishment in itself. The entry, descent and landing must be taken into serious calculation, or its all for not. Now you must consider landing on Mars at a safe controlled speed, hopefully landing like Rover or Spirit did. I would prefer the Spirit landing, due to the use of large inflatable balloons or airbags, bouncing across the Martian landscape. Reason is, it’s a less technical option, but maybe a precarious journey onto Mars surface.
MC 7 – SOLO-M 1 : First Soul on Mars – Sol Day 1
WOW! What a trip! The very first person on Mars. Your super famous now. And, I’m very sure NASA satellites above the Martian landscape, are tracking your progress. But, there’s one item missing on board, that could have possibly landed you by an exact longitude and latitude.
Oops! No GPS ? Not sure where you landed?
Not to worry, NASA knows exactly where you are. Can you imagine the public announcement, “It’s official. The first man has landed on the surface of Mars, as of 10:30 am CT. FBI and CSIS have confirmed, Mr. Bari Demers has successfully landed on Mars without the aid of NASA or the Canadian authorities. At this time we are unclear, as to his condition.”
Can you imagine the commotion on earth ?
OK. You made it on Mars. Now what? Do you have enough water and food to sustain you for a couple of weeks, a month or, how about one year. You would be one lucky soul to make it one month on Mars. The finally results from NASA would be something like this, “On SOLO-M 45 we have lost all contact from the only survivor on Mars. Our satellites have found no activity past this point. It’s our conclusion, the first man on Mars has ceased to exist.”
Say what ?! YIKES!
Maybe not. Now, what if the first man on Mars can find tunnels or caves, full of oxygen and safe from solar flares. It’s possible. It’s really possible, because we haven’t explored Mars, as of yet. There may even be an abundance of water too. Just maybe, Bari Demers is capable of living on Mars past SOLO-M 45. One year on Mars would be 365 sol days while on earth, that equates to 668.68 days.
Let’s say SOLO-M 1825 ( 5 years ) before any rescue attempt by NASA. After all the politics and projected costs, who knows, it just may be a private sector that lands that arrives on Mars first.
OK. Now consider my flamboyant storyline, “Going to Mars or Bust“.
Of course, with ever science-fiction, the real science must work. Even Ridley Scott used the advice of NASA to help figure out all the technical applications of the entry, descent and landing on Mars. All had to meet certain requirements, in order for it to work.
If it’s too far fetched, your audience won’t believe it. In fact, with NASA providing an oasis of scientific information,(available by the touch of your screen), it would be hard to fool any audience.
Just a quick celebration of today – MAY THE 4TH BE WITH YOU – STAR WARS
The mascot Camilla Corona is by NASA and the operator of this mascot is a close friend of mine – So of course I just had to include Camilla. Camilla mascot is all about education STEM ( Science Technology Engineering & Mathematics) with NASA