A gaggle of astronauts who’re trailblazers for his or her respective ethnicities are actually true “rock stars,” having asteroids named for them.
The Worldwide Astronomical Union (IAU) Minor Planet Heart, which oversees the designation of small our bodies within the photo voltaic system, lately launched the checklist of official asteroid names honoring 27 space travelers of African American, Hispanic and Native American descent. The namesakes embrace energetic and former NASA astronauts, U.S. Air Pressure astronaut candidates and one Soviet-era cosmonaut.
All 27 astronaut-named asteroids have been found within the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter by Marc Buie, a Boulder, Colorado-based astronomer on the Southwest Analysis Institute, which is headquartered in San Antonio, Texas. Buie can be a co-investigator on NASA’s Lucy mission, which, after launching in October, will research Trojan asteroids that circle the Solar, main and following Jupiter in its orbit.
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“It is an honor and a privilege to call these asteroids in recognition of fellow house explorers whereas additionally including to the message of the ability and worth of range for all human endeavors,” mentioned Buie in a statement released by NASA.
The thought of naming the asteroids for astronauts was submitted to the IAU by a group of scientists and college students concerned with the Lucy mission. The trouble was led by Cathy Olkin, the deputy principal investigator of the Lucy mission at Southwest Analysis Institute, with assist from Keith Noll, a planetary astronomer on the Goddard Area Flight Heart in Maryland, who serves as Lucy undertaking scientist.
“Final summer time a gaggle of us obtained collectively to honor a various group of astronauts who’ve traveled to house and the pioneers who paved the best way for these explorers,” mentioned Olkin. “However there are lots of extra, and we hope so as to add their names to the sky sooner or later.”
The brand new honorees embrace Joe Acabá and Stephanie Wilson, members of NASA’s Artemis team who’re among the many first U.S. astronauts making ready for a return to the moon, and Arnaldo Tamayo Méndez, a former cosmonaut who was the primary Cuban and first particular person of African heritage to fly into house.
Additionally among the many new namesakes is Michael Lopez-Alegria, who is about to develop into the primary retired NASA astronaut to launch once more to the Worldwide Area Station because the commander of Axiom Area’s first industrial spaceflight in 2022.
The 27 astronauts (and cosmonaut) be part of practically 40 different house explorers whose names have been beforehand added to asteroids. The sooner namesakes embrace the members of the Apollo 11 moon touchdown crew; the fallen Soyuz 11, house shuttle Challenger (STS-51L) and house shuttle Columbia (STS-107) crews; and the primary human to launch into house nearly 60 years in the past, Yuri Gagarin.
The total checklist of newly-named asteroids and the astronauts they honor, as cited by the Minor Planets Heart, is as follows:
- (92579) Dwight
Edward (Ed) Joseph Dwight Jr. (b. 1933) was the primary African American astronaut candidate. He served within the Air Pressure, working as take a look at pilot earlier than serving within the Aerospace Analysis Pilot College. After leaving the Air Pressure he went on to develop into an influential sculptor and writer.
- (92892) Robertlawrence
Robert H. Lawrence Jr. (1935-1967) was chosen for the Manned Orbiting Laboratory (MOL) program. He was the primary African American to be chosen as an astronaut and was the one MOL astronaut with a doctorate. He perished in a aircraft crash earlier than he had the chance to go to house.
- (92894) Bluford
Guion Steward Bluford Jr. (b. 1942) was the primary African American astronaut in house. He was part of 4 house shuttle missions between 1983 and 1992, which included deploying satellites, testing robotic arms, and conducting analysis. Bluford logged a complete of 688 hours in house.
- (95449) Frederickgregory
Frederick Drew Gregory (b. 1941) is a retired astronaut who was the pilot on one house shuttle mission and commander on two different missions. In 1989, he was the primary African American to command an area flight. He additionally served as deputy administrator of NASA.
- (97508) Bolden
Charles Frank Bolden Jr. (b. 1946) is a former astronaut who flew on 4 house shuttle missions (two because the pilot and two because the commander). From 2009-2017, he was NASA’s administrator.
- (97512) Jemison
Mae Carol Jemison (b. 1956) is a retired astronaut who flew on the house shuttle in 1992. There she performed scientific experiments. She was the primary African American lady to journey to house and the primary African American lady admitted into the astronaut coaching program.
- (103733) Bernardharris
Bernard Anthony Harris Jr. (b. 1956) is a former astronaut who flew on two house shuttle missions. In 1993, he was a mission specialist who carried out analysis as a part of Spacelab D-2. As payload commander on the house shuttle Discovery in 1995, he grew to become the primary African American to conduct a spacewalk.
- (103734) Winstonscott
Winston Elliott Scott (b. 1950) is a former astronaut who flew two missions to house. Scott accomplished three spacewalks to retrieve satellites and consider the meeting of the ISS. He additionally carried out experiments on the results of zero gravity on the human physique.
- (103737) Curbeam
Robert Lee Curbeam Jr. (b. 1962) is a retired astronaut and the primary particular person to carry out 4 spacewalks on a single mission. Whereas in house, Curbeam helped repair a photo voltaic panel and set up a brand new truss within the ISS. He spent greater than 37 days in house and 45 hours on spacewalks.
- (103738) Stephaniewilson
Stephanie Diana Wilson (b. 1966) is the second African American lady to fly in house. She has flown on three missions, and as of 2020, logged essentially the most time in house of any African American astronaut (42 days). She additionally served as the bottom commander for the primary all-women spacewalk in 2019.
- (103739) Higginbotham
Joan Higginbotham (b. 1964) is engineer and former astronaut. As an engineer at NASA’s Kennedy Area Heart, she participated in 53 house shuttle launches earlier than turning into and astronaut and the third African American lady to go to house.
- (104698) Alvindrew
Benjamin Alvin Drew (b. 1962) is an astronaut who flew two house shuttle missions to the ISS as a mission specialist. He logged greater than 25 days in house. He additionally performed two spacewalks.
- (108096) Melvin
As an astronaut, Leland Devon Melvin (b. 1964) helped construct the ISS, with flights aboard the house shuttle Atlantis in 2008 and 2009. Melvin can be an engineer with expertise utilizing sensors to evaluate injury of aerospace automobiles and was an NFL soccer participant with the Detroit Lions.
- (108097) Satcher
Robert Lee Satcher Jr. (b. 1965) is an orthopedic surgeon, chemical engineer and retired astronaut. He was the primary orthopedic surgeon in house and took part in two spacewalks as a part of an area shuttle flight to the ISS in 2009.
- (114705) Tamayo
Arnaldo Tamayo Méndez (b. 1942) was the primary particular person of African ancestry and the primary Hispanic (Cuban) cosmonaut to journey into house with the crew of Soyuz 38 in September 1980. He obtained the primary Hero of the Republic of Cuba medal and lots of different honors.
- (115015) Chang Díaz
Franklin R. Chang Díaz (b. 1950) was an astronaut for 25 years and flew seven house shuttle missions from 1986 to 2002. He logged greater than 1,600 hours in house and helped to deploy the Galileo spacecraft to Jupiter. He’s the primary Costa Rican astronaut and can be of Chinese language descent.
- (116162) Sidneygutierrez
Sidney M. Gutierrez (b. 1951) is a former astronaut. He was the pilot on the house shuttle Columbia in 1991. That mission was the primary Spacelab mission devoted to organic sciences. He was the commander of an area shuttle Endeavour mission in 1994 that used radar to review the Earth.
- (117703) Ochoa
Ellen Ochoa (b. 1958) is a former astronaut. In 1993, she was the primary Hispanic lady to go to house. She flew 4 house shuttle missions, logged practically 1,000 hours in house, and have become director of NASA’s Johnson Area Heart in Houston.
- (117704) Lopez-Alegria
Michael Lopez-Alegria (b. 1958) is a retired astronaut who flew on 4 NASA missions: three aboard the house shuttle, and one on the Soyuz spacecraft for a long-duration mission aboard the ISS. He has carried out 10 spacewalks throughout his 257 days in house. Whereas in house, he carried out experiments on supplies, biotechnology and combustion.
- (118768) Carlosnoriega
Carlos I. Noriega was born in 1959 in Peru and have become an astronaut in 1996. He was a mission specialist aboard the house shuttle Atlantis on NASA’s sixth mission to dock with the Russian Mir Area Station, and aboard the house shuttle Endeavour mission to ship and set up the primary set of photo voltaic arrays to the ISS.
- (118769) Olivas
John D. Olivas (b. 1966) is a former astronaut. Olivas flew two house shuttle missions, in 2007 and 2009, to assemble the ISS. He performed 5 spacewalks throughout these two missions.
- (119890) Zamka
George D. Zamka (b. 1962) is a retired astronaut. Zamka piloted the house shuttle Discovery in its October 2007 mission to the ISS. He was the commander of the house shuttle Endeavour mission in February 2010, an ISS meeting mission.
- (119993) Acabá
Joseph Acabá (b. 1967) flew to the ISS in 2009, 2012 and 2018, aboard each the house shuttle and the Soyuz spacecraft. On his first flight, he participated in spacewalks to assemble the house station. As of July 2020, he has spent 306 days in house.
- (122554) José M. Hernández
José M. Hernández (b. 1962) was born right into a migrant farming household. He grew to become an astronaut and was a mission specialist on house shuttle Discovery’s mission to the ISS in 2008. Previous to his time as an astronaut, Hernández helped to develop the primary full-field digital mammography imaging system.
- (122555) Auñón-Chancellor
Serena M. Auñón-Chancellor (b. 1976) is an engineer, doctor, and astronaut. She has collected meteorites in Antarctica, served as an aquanaut on an undersea analysis station, and was a flight engineer on the ISS for six months in 2018.
- (126965) Neri
Rodolfo Neri Vela (b. 1952) is the primary Mexican particular person to journey to house. In 1985, he was a payload specialist on the house shuttle Atlantis. Through the flight, he performed experiments, together with many with regards to human physiology.
- (127030) Herrington
John Herrington (b. 1958) is a former astronaut and a member of the Chickasaw Nation. Herrington was a mission specialist aboard house shuttle Endeavour for the 16th house shuttle flight to the ISS, performing three spacewalks throughout the mission.