John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences

News and information from the UND John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences.

Colloquium Presentation by Dr. Paul A. Abell on March 22nd

The Space Studies Spring 2021 Colloquium Series features several leading experts in various space-related fields.  Please join us for our next remotely offered presentation in this series as outlined below.  This presentation will feature Dr. Paul A. Abell, Chief Scientist for Small Body Exploration at NASA Johnson Space Center.

Presentation Title:  “Near-Earth Objects as Possible Destinations for Future Exploration”

Date:  Monday, March 22, 2021

Time:  5:00-7:00 p.m. (Central Daylight ST)

Location:  online only – see details below.

About the speaker:

Paul Abell is the Chief Scientist for Small Body Exploration in the Astromaterials Research and Exploration Science Division at the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.   His main areas of interest are physical characterization of near-Earth objects (NEOs) via ground-based and spacecraft observations, examination of NEOs for future robotic and human exploration, mitigation of potentially hazardous asteroids and comets, and identification of potential resources within the NEO population for future in situ utilization.

He was a science team member on the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) Hayabusa near-Earth asteroid sample-return mission and participated in the successful recovery of the spacecraft‘s sample return capsule, which returned to Woomera, Australia in June 2010.  Paul is currently a team member of the Hayabusa2 mission and is aiding the cooperation between Hayabusa2 and NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft teams as they investigate and sample their respective near-Earth asteroids.

Since 2006 Paul has been a member of an internal NASA team that has been examining the possibility of sending astronauts to NEOs for human missions.  He is also an investigation team member on both NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) and Near-Earth Object Surveyor Mission (NEOSM) planetary defense missions, and a team member on ESA’s Hera planetary defense mission.  Asteroid 8139 (1980 UM1) is named Paulabell in recognition of Paul’s contributions to NEO research and exploration studies.

Paul is a 1993 Space Studies M.S. graduate.


Participation details:

A simple live webcast will be available here.



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