NASA Aims to Lasso an Asteroid

August 8, 2013, 10:08 AM HST
* Updated September 8, 7:04 PM
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Imiloa Astronomy Center’s next “Maunakea Skies” program will focus on NASA’s plans to capture a near-Earth asteroid and keep it in orbit around the earth for study.

Sounds fantastic but it’s actually what “The NASA Asteroid Initiative” is about.

NASA’s Dr. Schelte J. “Bobby” Bus, an astronomer at the Infrared Telescope Facility on Mauna Kea, will discuss the agency’s plans on Friday, Aug. 16 , 7 p.m., at the Imiloa Astronomy Center in Hilo.

Announced in June, NASA launched the initiative aimed at finding all asteroids that pose a threat to human life on Earth and to develop the strategies and technologies to prevent harm.


Dr. Bobby Bus, astronomer at the Infrared Telescope facility on Mauna Kea, focuses his research on the origin and evolution of asteroids in our solar system.

“This mission will provide an important opportunity to test many new ideas and systems that may someday be needed if an asteroid is discovered on its way to impacting the Earth,” according to an Imiloa press release.


Once the asteroid is orbiting the earth, NASA is planning to send astronauts out to the asteroid to study it.


The monthly Maunakea Skies planetarium presentations are held on the third Friday of each month. Cost is $10 for non-members. Call 969-9703 or go to

The Imiloa Astronomy Center of Hawaii is located at 600 Imiloa Place in Hilo, off Komohana and Nowelo streets, at the UH Hilo Science and Technology Park.

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