[meteorite-list] Asteroid Expert Receives Carl Sagan Medal for Public Communication (Don Yeomans)

From: Ron Baalke <baalke_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Fri, 12 Jul 2013 10:33:59 -0700 (PDT)
Message-ID: <201307121733.r6CHXxcP014722_at_zagami.jpl.nasa.gov>


Asteroid Expert Receives Carl Sagan Medal for Public Communication
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
July 12, 2013

For his work making the solar system's nomads of the night sky --
near-Earth objects, asteroids and comets -- tangible and compelling for
millions of people, Donald K. Yeomans, the manager of NASA's Near-Earth
Object Program Office at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, has
received the 2013 Carl Sagan Medal from the American Astronomical
Society (AAS).

The Sagan Medal recognizes a planetary scientist for excellence in
public communication. Yeomans will receive the medal during the AAS
Division for Planetary Sciences annual meeting, Oct. 6 to 11 in Denver.

"When I began doing this, asteroids were considered little more than
vermin of the solar system, irritants that occasionally got in the way
of astronomers taking pictures of some distant galaxy," said Yeomans.
"While times certainly have changed, two things about near-Earth objects
remain the same. We need to find them before they find us and tell
everybody about them as efficiently and as clearly as possible."

The Near-Earth Objects Program Office at JPL, along with the Minor
Planet Center, helps coordinate the search for, and tracking of,
asteroids and comets passing into Earth's neighborhood, to identify
possible hazards to Earth.

The Sagan Medal citation by the American Astronomical Society's Division
of Planetary Sciences' reads: "For more than two decades, Don Yeomans
has been the "go to" person whenever the media seek a planetary
scientist to illuminate the scientific middle ground between the hype
and the ho-hum... His calm demeanor and scientific rigor have helped to
dampen doomsday hysteria and sound the all-clear on more serious
potential risks (e.g. Apophis) when improved observations warrant. And
in every case he takes the opportunity to educate the public on the real
long-term risks and potential benefits of Near Earth Objects."

Yeomans was born and raised in Rochester, N.Y., and now lives in
Glendale, Calif. He graduated from Middlebury College, Vt., with a
bachelor's degree in mathematics and earned a doctorate in astronomy
from the University of Maryland, College Park. He has worked at JPL
since 1976. In addition to managing NASA's Near-Earth Objects Program
Office, Yeomans is supervisor for JPL's Solar System Dynamics Group. He
was a science team member for NASA's Deep Impact/EPOXI mission, which
deployed an impactor that was "run over" by comet Tempel 1 in 2005 and
flew close to comet Hartley 2 in 2010. He was also the U.S. project
scientist for the Japanese-led Hayabusa mission that returned a sample
from near-Earth object Itokawa in 2010, and a team chief for the
Near-Earth Asteroid Rendezvous mission that orbited, then landed on the
asteroid Eros in 2001. The first images of the return of comet Halley in
1982 were also obtained based on Yeomans' predictions.

Yeomans has written about asteroids, comets and near-Earth objects in
more than 160 professional publications, and numerous writings in the
popular press. He has authored five books, most recently his 2013 work,
"Near-Earth Objects: Finding Them Before They Find Us".

NASA's Near-Earth Object Observations Program manages and funds the
search for, study of and monitoring of asteroids and comets whose orbits
periodically bring them close to Earth. JPL manages the Near-Earth
Object Program Office for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in
Washington. The Minor Planet Center is funded by NASA and hosted by the
Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory in Cambridge, Mass. JPL is a
division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.

More information about asteroids and near-Earth objects is available at:
http://neo.jpl.nasa.gov/, http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/asteroidwatch and via
Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/asteroidwatch .

DC Agle 818-393-9011
Jet Propulsion Lab., Pasadena, Calif.
agle at jpl.nasa.gov

Received on Fri 12 Jul 2013 01:33:59 PM PDT

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