A Silicon Valley institute focusing on the perils and prospects posed by near-Earth objects has chosen its first senior research fellows to work at the University of Washington.
Bryce Bolin and Sarah Greenstreet will work under the direction of the Asteroid Institute’s executive director, Ed Lu, a former NASA astronaut and co-founder of the B612 Foundation.
“The team is growing,” Lu told GeekWire.
Like B612, the Asteroid Institute focuses on the issue of tracking and potentially deflecting asteroids that have a chance of hitting Earth. The institute puts its emphasis on research tools and technologies that can aid in planetary defense.
Lu said Bolin and Greenstreet will help with projects such as B612’s Asteroid Decision Analysis and Mapping project. ADAM has been compared to a Google Maps for solar system objects — which is an apt comparison, considering that Lu worked on Google Maps for a time after leaving NASA in 2007.
“They’re helping us build the solar system map of asteroids,” Lu said. “Eventually we should be able to add more data.”
Greenstreet and Bolin will work closely with UW’s DIRAC Institute, which includes researchers preparing for the flow of astronomical data from the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope.
“We’re looking forward to working with Sarah and Bryce on enabling the next generation of survey-driven discoveries in the solar system,” Mario Juric, a member of the DIRAC faculty and the LSST Solar System Data Management lead, said in a news release.
Sarah Greenstreet received her Ph.D. in astronomy from the University of British Columbia and most recently served as a postdoctoral researcher at Las Cumbres Observatory and the University of California at Santa Barbara. Her expertise is in near-Earth and small-body orbital dynamics, observations and main-belt asteroid resonances.
She’s a member of the Outer Solar System Origins Survey science team and a collaborator with the science team for the New Horizons mission to Pluto and beyond.
Bryce Bolin has previous experience at the Universite Cote d’Azur and the University of Hawaii’s Institute for Astronomy. His areas of expertise include the dynamics of solar system small-body populations, solar system formation, and asteroid sttructure and formation.
He’s the lead author of a study that documented the elongated shape and rotation of an unusual interstellar object known as ‘Oumuamua last year.