Saturday, June 26, 2021 from 10:00 AM to 5:40 PM PDT
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Events/Program Chair, LA, AIAA Los Angeles Las Vegas section 
American Institute of Aeronautics & Astronautics, Los Angeles - Las Vegas Section 
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Planetary Defense Workshop
(Hands-on Team Exercises)
with Asteroid Exploration Updates
Saturday, June 26, 2021, 10 AM PDT


We invite you and your family to our Annual Planetary Defense and Asteroid Exploration even this year (2021). There will be a fun and inspiring hands-on team workshop for planetary defense scenarios and exercises. You will also learn from the experts about the new progresses in this important and exciting field, along with some updates on the observation of bolides and asteroid exploration. The winning Team in the Exercise/Workshop will receive a special gift/recognition.


Tentative Agenda (All Time PDT (Pacific Daylight-Saving Time (US and Canada))
10:05 AM PDT: Welcome
10:10 AM PDT: Dr. Nahum Melamed (Asteroid Day Introduction and NEO Deflection App.)
10:40 AM PDT: Dr. Nahum Melamed, Ms. Lianne P. Mcginley, Ms. Monica Maynard (Workshop)
12:10 PM PDT: Artash and Arushi Nath (STEM K-12 Game development)
12:25 PM PDT: Dr. Bill Ailor (Overview of the 2021 IAA Planetary Defense Conference (PDC), and the history of the PDCs)
12:45 PM PDT: Dr. Andy Rivkin (Planetary Defenders: Protecting the Planet with The Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART))
01:30 PM PDT: Dr. Paul Chodas (Planetary Defense Exercises and PDC 2021 Updates, Notable Close Approaches, Hypothetical Asteroid Scenario designed for the PDC)
02:30 PM PDT: Mr. W. Randy Bell (Infrasound and Optical detection of Bolides)
03:15 PM PDT: Dr. Joseph A. Nuth III (OSIRIS-REx Mission and and Sample Return Updates)
04:00 PM PDT: Ms. Monica Maynard (How asteroid impacts might affect natural underground water storage and water supply.)
04:20 PM PDT: Prof. Madhu Thangavelu (Evolving Directed Energy System Concepts For Planetary Defense in the Earth-Moon System Domain)
05:05 PM PDT: Mr. Philip Groves (Fostering public support for planetary defense through media)
05:25 PM PDT: Dr. Nahum Melamed (Summary and Conclusion)
05:40 PM PDT Adjourn



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Disclaimer: The views of the speakers do not represent the views of AIAA or the AIAA Los Angeles-Las Vegas Section.
Dr. Nahum Melamed

Project Leader,The Aerospace Corporation
"NEO Deflection App"|
"Planetary Defense Workshop and Team Exercises"

Dr. Nahum Melamed is a project leader at The Aerospace Corporation since 2003. He received BS and MS in Aerospace Engineering from the Technion, Israel, and PhD in Aerospace Engineering from Georgia Tech. His expertise include Orbital Mechanics and Optimal Guidance. His key activities include Planetary Defense from Near Earth Objects, Space Debris Mitigation and Flight SW Validation.

He leads a collaboration with NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) developing a physics based web NEO Deflection App, or NDA, to design NEO deflection missions and gain insights on the challenges involved. This includes descriptions and tutorials that are necessary to interpret the data, supports planetary defense conferences, workshops and exercises, and is available online https://cneos.jpl.nasa.gov/nda/. Dr. Melamed serves on planetary defense conferences and planetary defense exercises organizing committees, gives talks at these venues, and instructs a planetary defense class at Aerospace.

Ms. Lianne P. Mcginley

Associate Director, Corp. Comm. & Public Affairs, Center of Excellence
The Aerospace Corporation
“Planetary Defense Team Exercises”


Ms. Monica Maynard

LA School District STEM Director;
STEM Office, The Aerospace Corp.
“Planetary Defense Team Exercises”


Dr. Andy Rivkin

Investigation Team Lead for the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART)
Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory
"Planetary Defenders: Protecting the Planet with The Double Asteroid Redirection Test"

The Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART), NASA's first flight demonstration for planetary defense, seeks to test and validate a method to protect Earth in case of an asteroid threat. The mission aims to shift an asteroid's orbit through a kinetic impact – specifically, by impacting the DART spacecraft into the smaller member of the binary asteroid system Didymos to change its orbital speed. Though the Didymos asteroid system poses no threat to our planet, it is the ideal target for this experiment; despite being 6.8 million miles away, Didymos is still close enough to Earth where it will be observable through ground-based telescopes before and after impact.  DART is currently being assembled and tested at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in preparation for launch in November 2021, followed by the kinetic impact into the asteroid in fall of 2022.

Bio: Andy Rivkin is one of two Investigation Team Leads for the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART). He is an expert in asteroid studies with a focus on determining their compositions from telescopic measurements. Rivkin got his PhD in Planetary Sciences from the University of Arizona in 1997, and has been at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory since 2005. When not working, he’s likely to be watching baseball or noodling on his guitar.


Dr. William H. Ailor

Aerospace Fellow, The Aerospace Corporation
"Overview of the 2021 IAA Planetary Defense Conference (PDC), and the history of the PDCs"

Dr. Ailor is a Technical Fellow with the Center for Orbital and Reentry Debris Studies at The Aerospace Corporation in El Segundo, California. He has chaired eleven international conferences, including seven on protecting Earth from asteroids, and served on the United Nations subcommittee that developed protocols for international cooperation in the event a threatening asteroid or comet is discovered.   He testified to Congress and was featured on NBC Nightly News, CBS Evening News, ABC News, and CNN as an expert on the Leonid meteor storm’s possible effects on satellites during the period of the storm.  He is also known for his expertise in space debris and reentry breakup, and has appeared on CNN, the Discovery Channel, and the Learning Channel on these topics.  He testified to the Columbia Accident Investigation Board on what might be learned from debris recovered after that event.  He provided expert commentary during the reentry of the Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS) in 2011.  In his private life, Dr. Ailor founded the Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy in 1988 and served as its president for 18 years. During that time, the rganization preserved over 1000 acres of natural open space on the Palos Verdes Peninsula.


Dr. Paul W. Chodas

Director, Center for Near Earth Object Studies,
"Planetary Defense Exercises and PDC 2021 Updates"
"Notable Close Approaches"
"Hypothetical Asteroid Scenario designed for the PDC"

Mr. W. Randy Bell

Senior Project Leader,The Aerospace Corporation
“Infrasound and Optical detection of Bolides”

For decades, optical sensors in space looking down at Earth and infrasound sensors on the ground around the globe have witnessed the impact of bolides on the atmosphere.   This has not been the primary purpose of these sensors and much of the data was not analyzed to understand the bolides they detected.  Increasingly, planetary defense scientist have shown interest in this data to understand the history of bolide events.  New improved sensors are being deployed with greater sensitivity that can see smaller bolide events.  This data is a useful addition to the toolbox for scientist trying to understand objects hitting the Earth on a regular basis.  Some of these bolide fireballs have released as much energy as nuclear weapons.  Most are smaller and are largely unnoticed by humans.  Comparing optical detections from different satellites and infrasound detections across the globe may allow greater insight into the nature of individual bolides and better statistics on the total population of objects bombarding our planet.  This talk will review the data, its availability, and some interesting work being done in this area.


Randy Bell is a senior project leader at The Aerospace Corporation working in space nuclear power and propulsion.   Prior to Aerospace, he served in DOE and NNSA in nuclear engineering and nuclear nonproliferation from 1991 through 2020, during this time he led research programs developing technical methods to detect and characterize weapons proliferation.  Mr. Bell was the manager of Space and Remote Sensing Systems where he oversaw several small satellite programs and many advanced airborne remote sensing efforts.  He headed NNSA’s Office of Nuclear Detonation Detection where he was responsible for production of operational satellite payloads as well as seismic and atmospheric detonation detection technology.  Subsequently he was the Director of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty’s International Data Centre where he led operation of the multinational nuclear test detection system and coordinated nuclear test monitoring activities among all Treaty member countries.  Before DOE, Mr Bell was a US Navy Fast Attack Submarine Officer and continued in the reserves in numerous assignments related to national space systems.   He has master’s degrees in physics from George Mason University, and computer science from Johns Hopkins University, and a B.S. in mathematics from the University of Rochester.


Dr. Joseph A. Nuth III

Deputy Project Scientist for the OSIRIS-REx Mission
Senior Scientist for Primitive Bodies in the Solar System Exploration Division
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center
OSIRIS-REx Mission and and Sample Return Updates”

Joseph A. Nuth III is the Deputy Project Scientist for the OSIRIS-REx mission and the Senior Scientist for Primitive Bodies in the Solar System Exploration Division at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. He is a 1982 graduate of the University of Maryland at College Park with a Ph.D. in Chemistry and has worked at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in various capacities starting as an undergraduate student intern in 1975.




Prof. Madhu Thangavelu

Director and Faculty Member, USC / ISU
"Evolving Directed Energy System Concepts For Planetary Defense in the Earth-Moon System Domain"

Mr. Philip Groves

"Asteroid Hunters" IMAX Producer & Writer, Apophis Pictures, LLC
"Fostering public support for planetary defense through media"