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Session 21 - Amateurs & Professionals: Collaborators in the New Age of Electronic Astronomy - I.
Oral session, Tuesday, June 10
North Main Hall C/D,

[21.03] Introducing the Benson Prize for Discovery Methods of Near Earth Objects by Amateurs

J. W. Benson (Space Development Corp.)

The Benson Prize

Sponsored by Space Development Corporation

The Benson Prize for Discovery Methods of Near Earth Objects by Amateurs is an annual competition which awards prizes to the best proposed methods by which amateur astronomers may discover such near earth objects as asteroids and comet cores.

The purpose of the Benson Prize is to encourage the discovery of near earth objects by amateur astronomers. The utilization of valuable near earth resources can provide many new jobs and economic activities on earth, while also creating many new opportunities for opening up the space frontier. The utilization of near earth resources will significantly contribute to the lessening of environmental degradation on the Earth caused by mining and chemical leaching operations required to exploit the low grade ores now remaining on Earth.

In addition, near earth objects pose grave dangers for life on earth. Discovering and plotting the orbits of all potentially dangerous near earth objects is the first and necessary step in protecting ourselves against the enormous potential damage possible from near earth objects.

With the high quality, large size and low cost of todays consumer telescopes, the rapid development of powerful, high resolution and inexpensive CCD cameras, and the proliferation of inexpensive software for todays powerful home computers, the discovery of near earth objects by amateur astronomers is more attainable than ever.

The Benson Prize is sponsored by the Space Development Corporation, a space resource exploration and utilization company. In 1997 one prize of $500 will be awarded to the best proposed method for the amateur discovery of NEOs, and in each of the four following years, Prizes of $500, $250 and $100 will be awarded. Prizes for the actual discovery of Near Earth Asteroids will be added in later years.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: BensonPrize@SpaceDev.Com

Program listing for Tuesday