The University of North Dakota’s Space Studies Colloquium on Monday, March 22, features Paul Abell, UND alumnus and NASA’s chief scientist for small body exploration science division, Johnson Space Center, Houston. He will
present “Near-Earth Objects as Possible Destinations for Future Exploration.” It will be held from 5-7 Central Daylight Standard Time in an online format. The live webcast will be available here.
About the speaker:
Paul Abell earned his Space Studies master’s degree in 1993 from UND. He 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. Abell 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 he 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.