Asteroid Institute launches its first research fellows

Asteroid tracks
The Asteroid Detection Analysis and Mapping software, or ADAM, can plot the courses of multiple asteroids, as shown in this visualization. (B612 Asteroid Institute via YouTube)

A Silicon Valley institute focusing on the perils and prospects posed by near-Earth objects has chosen its first senior research fellows to work at the University of Washington.

Bryce Bolin and Sarah Greenstreet will work under the direction of the Asteroid Institute’s executive director, Ed Lu, a former NASA astronaut and co-founder of the B612 Foundation.

“The team is growing,” Lu told GeekWire.

Like B612, the Asteroid Institute focuses on the issue of tracking and potentially deflecting asteroids that have a chance of hitting Earth. The institute puts its emphasis on research tools and technologies that can aid in planetary defense.

Lu said Bolin and Greenstreet will help with projects such as B612’s Asteroid Decision Analysis and Mapping project. ADAM has been compared to a Google Maps for solar system objects — which is an apt comparison, considering that Lu worked on Google Maps for a time after leaving NASA in 2007.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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