On November 21, the special seminar entitled ” The Double Asteroid Redirect Text Mission (DART): Humanity’s First Planetary Defense Test Mission ” was given by Dr. Paul Abell, Chief Scientist of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). This seminar was co-hosted by Graduate School of Science and Engineering, Faculty of Science, International Office at Saitama University and U.S. Embassy Tokyo.
The seminar was a great success with 90 participants in person and 30 participants online via Zoom. The content of the seminar, which included his real-life experiences as an astronaut, greatly interested the participants, and a lively question-and-answer session was held at the end.
Dr. 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. 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.